The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) is pleased to announce the start of the National Mortgage Settlement Counseling Program, offering free housing counseling to help Californians concerned about their housing situation.
CalHFA designed and implemented the new program to respond to overwhelming need as COVID-19 and the related economic disruption have exacerbated an already precarious housing situation for millions of California families.
The 2020-21 California State Budget allocated $300 million from the National Mortgage Settlement Fund to CalHFA to set up HUD-certified counseling and mortgage assistance programs. Working through HUD-approved Intermediaries, CalHFA is using $50 million of this funding for more than 80 HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies from all over the state to provide free housing counseling services. CalHFA has already disbursed the first round of funding so agencies could train and hire additional counselors and update infrastructure to help the most families possible at a time when virtual options are necessary.
“We knew it was vital to set up the Housing Counseling Program to be as responsive as possible to our most vulnerable populations,” said CalHFA Executive Director Tia Boatman Patterson. “With COVID-19 hitting in the middle of the current housing crisis, homeowners, renters and even small landlords are hanging on by thread. The counseling provided by this program will educate and connect Californians to resources to help prevent avoidable foreclosures and evictions that usually lead to housing insecurity and homelessness.”