The California National Mortgage Settlement Grant Program will provide $9.4 million to 21 organizations to assist state residents affected by the foreclosure crisis.
Attorney General Kamala Harris said the grants will benefit many of the state’s neediest homeowners and families by providing or expanding access to free legal assistance and representation, foreclosure intervention aid, homeowner education and financial literacy clinics, blight remediation services, fraud prevention education and employment support services.
Many of the organizations who will receive the grants focus on underserved and disproportionately impacted populations, including agricultural workers, communities of color, the disabled, the elderly, immigrant communities, Native Americans, rural homeowners, veterans and active-duty military, Harris added.
Services will be offered in more than a dozen languages, including American Sign Language, Armenian, Cantonese, Farsi, Hmong, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Harris said grant recipients will begin to implement their programs immediately.
“The foreclosure crisis has inflicted wide-ranging and deep harm to California homeowners and communities,” Harris stated in a press release. “These grants will give homeowners and families the financial and legal tools they need to recover.”
Last year, Harris named Katherine Porter, a professor at the UC Irvine School of Law, as the California monitor of the commitment by the nation’s five largest banks to perform as much as $18 billion worth of homeowner and borrower benefits in the state.
As part of the program, attorneys and law students will ensure that the banks are complying to their obligations in the AG settlement by providing the proper assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure who were affected by the robo-signing scandal and any other alleged legal improprieties. An upcoming forum is scheduled to take place on May 3 in Fresno to offer best practices for struggling homeowners.
“In working with homeowner’s up-and-down California, I have seen the invaluable work being done by community-based organizations like these,” Porter said. “Families working to get back on their feet will benefit greatly from the programs funded by these grants.”