Maria stared at the TV screen in disbelief seeing the Vista Del Mar Hospital building, where she had worked for the past 7 years, devoured by flames from the Thomas Fire, “I just couldn’t believe it. My heart dropped and I was immediately worried about the patients and staff there.” After finding out that all the patients and staff had evacuated in the early morning hours and were safe a second wave of emotions hit her when realizing she, a single mother of 4, would no longer have a job, “I started thinking how am I going to pay for my house? Where are my kids going to go? I have to start packing. It was a feeling of impending doom.”

One of the first visits she made after finding out she would no longer have a job was to one of the Ventura County’s Job & Career Centers where she was given a flyer for the Keep Your Home California (KYHC) Program, a federally funded program designed to help low and moderate income homeowners retain their homes if they have suffered a financial hardship. She never thought she would qualify for a program like this but she decided to give it a try and called her local HUD-approved housing counseling agency, Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCCDC).

At VCCDC she met with Homeownership Program Coordinator, Ana Chavez, who helped her navigate through the pre-eligibility process for the KYHC Unemployment Mortgage Assistance (UMA) Program which offers up to $54,000 in assistance to eligible unemployed homeowners. Maria is now on course to receive assistance under the KYHC UMA program which will help her make her monthly mortgage payment for up to 18 months or until she finds a job. “It’s a huge load taken off my shoulders. Now I can concentrate on moving on and jumping over this hurdle rather than worrying about where my kids and I are going to sleep. This was a big loss for me, although it doesn’t compare to those who lost a home, I lost my security because that was my sole income. Without this program I would have lost my home, no doubt about it.”

Maria is one of the over 200 Ventura and Santa Barbara County homeowners who have been able to keep their home through the Keep Your Home California program with VCCDC’s assistance, totaling to more than $6.2 million in funding. VCCDC has been rated the #1 in efficiency in the state of California for KYHC for the past 3 years, making it the trusted source for homeowners going through a financial hardship and at risk of losing their home. “This help has empowered me to believe that there is hope and that I can do something about my situation. When someone wants to really help you, not because they feel sorry for you but because they really care, that really touches you.”

Homeowners interested in obtaining more information about the Keep Your Home California Program can call VCCDC at 805-273-7800 or email [email protected] The VCCDC office is located at 2231 Sturgis Road, Suite A, in Oxnard and it is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.