ANTIOCH, CA - OCTOBER 15: A foreclosure sale sign in seen in front of foreclosed home October15, 2007 in Antioch, California. The San Francisco Bay Area zip code 94531, Antioch, California, has experienced a spike in home foreclosures with a reported 271 homes repossessed between January and August of this year. Antioch has also seen the biggest decline in home prices since May of this year with prices dropping 15 percent. California ranks third behind Ohio and Michigan in foreclosures. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Federal COVID-19 relief dollars have already helped more than 140,000 California renters pay the debt they accrued to their landlords during the pandemic.

Now, the state is offering similar relief to qualified homeowners who’ve fallen behind on their mortgages. The new California Mortgage Relief program will pay up to $80,000 worth of mortgage, property tax and insurance bills for qualified applicants.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left many California homeowners struggling to cover their mortgage costs,” said Rebecca Franklin, president of the California Housing Finance Agency’s Homeowner Relief Corp. “This program is designed to help low- to moderate-income Californians who have lost their jobs or experienced financial hardships due to COVID-19 and fallen behind on their payments get caught up and start fresh.”

The program is funded by a $1-billion grant from the federal government, which allocated $10 billion for mortgage assistance in March as part of the American Rescue Plan. The Treasury Department divvied up the money according to each state’s population of unemployed workers and borrowers with delinquent mortgages.

To qualify, a household must earn no more than the median income in its area (for example, $118,200 for a family of four in Los Angeles County), and the home at risk of foreclosure must be the household’s primary residence. Here are the details on who’s eligible, how to apply, when the aid will start flowing and how long the help will be available.

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