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California's Jobless Homeowners to Get Benefits Mailing

California's unemployed will finally see letters from labor officials about benefits they may be able to get from a $2-billion program, including one that could pay their mortgages for as long as nine months.

The money comes from the federal government's Hardest Hit Fund — $7.6 billion in leftover bank bailout money allocated to 18 states devastated by the housing meltdown. California received by far the biggest share, and created a program called Keep Your Home California to channel the assistance to homeowners.

The program, unveiled two years ago by the Obama administration, has been up and running in California for more than a year. But because of bureaucratic constraints, this is the first time the state Employment Development Department has mailed information about it to the 1.1 million Californians receiving unemployment insurance. The letters should be arriving in the mail by next week.

A Times analysis found that the state Housing Finance Agency, which administers the program in California, had provided less than 2% of the $2 billion available by the end of last year.

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