NOV 28, 2012 10:38am ET

California AG Announces Homeowner Assistance Grant Program

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The California Department of Justice has secured $10.4 million of national mortgage settlement proceeds to assist organizations that provide housing counseling and legal services to homeowners impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

According to October data from RealtyTrac, California posted the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate where one in every 379 housing units file for foreclosure.   

There are two types of grants eligible organizations can apply for in order to continue helping distressed borrowers avoid losing their home to foreclosure: the Consumer Assistance Grants and a Homeowner Bill of Rights Implementation Grant.

The Consumer Assistance Grants award approximately $9 million in funding, while the Homeowner Bill of Rights Implementation Grant distributes about $1 million.

The Attorney General’s office anticipates giving 20 CAG grants that range from $150,000 to $750,000 to organizations that offer consumer assistance. Only one HBOR Implementation Grant will be given out to assist in the implementation of California’s new homeowner protection legislation sponsored by the AG this year. The grants last for 18 months, the AG’s office said.

The State Bar, under the leadership of executive director Joe Dunn, will work with the Attorney General’s office to administer the grants.

Existing housing counseling and legal services organizations can apply for grant funds individually or in partnership. Organizations eligible for the Consumer Assistance Grants are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service and in compliance with all applicable laws and requirements, including registration, as appropriate, with the Registry of Charitable Trusts maintained by the California Department of Justice.

Applicants for the HBOR Implementation Grant may be individuals affiliated with non-profit organizations or professional organizations dedicated to addressing consumer law and housing issues.

All applicants who provide housing counseling must be HUD-certified and must currently offer services to financially distressed homeowners. Applicants who provide direct legal services must demonstrate substantial expertise in assisting clients with mortgage and foreclosure-related issues and must currently provide direct legal services to borrowers who need assistance with such issues.

Organizations interested in applying for the grants must submit an electronic application by Jan. 14, 2013. Details regarding the application process can be found at the Department of Justice website. (www.oag.ca.gov/grants).

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