SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that California’s National Mortgage Settlement Grant Program has awarded $9.4 million to 21 organizations in order to assist Californians affected by the state’s foreclosure crisis.
“The foreclosure crisis has inflicted wide-ranging and deep harm to California homeowners and communities,” said Harris. “These grants will give homeowners and families the financial and legal tools they need to recover.”
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 receiving 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. 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.
Grant recipients will begin to implement their programs immediately.
In March, Harris announced an additional $1 million California Homeowner Bill of Rights implementation grant to the National Housing Law Project. All grant funds were secured by Attorney General Harris in 2012 through the National Mortgage Settlement.
In March 2012, Harris appointed Professor Katherine Porter of the University of California, 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.
“In working with homeowners up-and-down California, I have seen the invaluable work being done by community-based organizations like these,” said Porter. “Families working to get back on their feet will benefit greatly from the programs funded by these grants.”
Professor Porter has attended dozens of events in the state and has organized forums on best practices for helping struggling homeowners. A forum recently took place in Irvine and another one is scheduled in Fresno on Friday, May 3.
The California State Bar has partnered with the Attorney General’s Office to administer the grants and monitor compliance. Grant recipients will be required to provide financial and program reports to both offices.
Distribution of funds was overseen by an expert panel that reviewed proposals and provided recommendations to Harris. Information about the expert panel and grant application process is available at oag.ca.gov/grants.