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Westly Offers Cash to Aid Homeowners and Renters

Filing for Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program Begins July 1

SACRAMENTO - State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Steve Westly today announced that senior and disabled Californians may apply for the Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program starting July 1. The program provides cash payments to aid homeowners and renters.

“This program assists those who need the most help dealing with California's skyrocketing housing costs,” Westly said. "More Californians should have access to this important government service, so this year we're also providing information about this program in Spanish, Chinese and Korean."

Last year, the Homeowner and Renter Assistance program provided checks totaling more than $180 million to more than 600,000 Californians. Homeowners are eligible for up to $472.60 and renters can receive up to $347.50 per year. Applications are being accepted through October 16. Applications, information and assistance are available by calling (800) 868-4171 or on the Franchise Tax Board's Web site at www.ftb.ca.gov.

To qualify for the program, homeowners must have owned and lived in their home on December 31, 2005, have a household income of $40,811 or less, and have been blind, disabled, or at least 62 years old.

Renters must pay $50 or more in rent per month and meet the same rules as homeowners.

Westly also urged Californians to apply for the Controller's Property Tax Postponement Program. This program allows individuals to postpone property taxes on their home. It is estimated that more than 900,000 California homeowners could benefit from this program. Claim forms and additional information are available on the State Controller's Web site at www.sco.ca.gov.

"I want to do everything I can to help people stay in their homes. That's good for individuals, families and society," Westly said.