Property tax payments a reminder homeowners can take advantage of COVID relief
TRUCKEE, Calif. — With November marking the deadline for California homeowners to make the first installment payment for taxes owed on assessed property, the Mortgage Relief Program represents an opportunity for many to catch up on past-due bills and stay in their homes.
The $1 billion program (CaMortgageRelief.org) is distributing federal funds to help homeowners continue to recover from the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds, which come from the American Rescue Plan’s Homeowner Assistance Fund, can cover missed housing payments, including up to $20,000 for property tax relief and up to $80,000 for past due mortgage payments.
“We are encouraging taxpayers who are struggling with past due taxes to apply for this program,” said Tina Vernon, Nevada County tax collector. “Over the last few months, we have seen this program help over two dozen local taxpayers get caught up on taxes. Of those, we have seen five who have avoided tax auctions because of this program. The application process is simple, and we are here to help with the process if any issues arise. We still have so many struggling financially from the fallouts of the pandemic, so we were happy to see a program that addresses property taxes.”
For homeowners who pay their property taxes directly to their counties, the program offers a grant to cover delinquent property taxes, which is sent directly to the homeowner’s county tax collector and does not need to be repaid. Homeowners may be eligible for the California Mortgage Relief Program if they missed at least one property tax payment before May 31, 2022.
Assistance is also available to homeowners who have reverse mortgages and are behind on payments, and for homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments.
“The pandemic has forced too many California families into housing insecurity, through no fault of their own,” said Tiena Johnson Hall, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, which is administering the program through the CalHFA Homeowner Relief Corporation. “This program has saved homes that were just days from being auctioned. Thanks to these grants, California families can now breathe a sigh of relief.”
The Mortgage Relief Program, rolled out to homeowners in the closing months of 2021, continues to help homeowners during a time of heightened economic uncertainty and growing concerns about foreclosures. Recognizing the significance of homeownership as a means for families to establish and pass on wealth to new generations, the program is an important resource for traditionally underserved Californians, including communities of color.
After decades of discrimination, just 41% of black families across the United States own their homes, compared to 68% of white families.
Additionally, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs found Hispanic and Latinx homeowners suffered the most – and longest – from the last decade’s housing crash across California.
- Latinx homeowners were 2.3 times more likely to experience foreclosure than white homeowners.
- As the state continues to recover from the global coronavirus pandemic, the Little Hoover Commission highlighted outsized concerns for California Latinx homeownership. The recent study showed Latinx homeowners were two times as likely as whites to report being behind in their housing payments.
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