Interstate Highway Street Sign in Southern California’s desert leading towards Los Angeles and Mojave

By Elliott Bochstein, RCAC Staff Writer

Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties in California

Lutheran Social Services of Southern California (LSSSC) is a nonprofit, faith-based organization that serves low-to-moderate-income communities in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties. LSSSC aims to equip individuals and families with the tools to navigate complex housing situations effectively by providing housing counseling services such as educating clients on home purchasing, foreclosure prevention, financial management and fair housing rights.

The Wells Fargo Keeping People Housed initiative provides grant funding to LSSSC through Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), a national housing counseling intermediary. The case of LSSSC client Ernesto Medina highlights this funding’s concrete results. The COVID-19 pandemic left Ernesto unemployed and struggling to fulfill his mortgage obligations. Ernesto faced a major decline in income due to a health-related work leave and the pandemic’s impact on his employer, causing expenses to mount. He turned to LSSSC for help.

Ernesto found just the support he needed through LSSSC’s housing counseling services. While he had previously struggled to understand the terms of his loan, an LSSSC counselor was able to provide clear direction. The counselor offered educational resources and assisted him in applying to the California Mortgage Relief Program (CMRP). LSSSC also facilitated communication with Ernesto’s lender and helped him enroll in a debt forbearance program, easing his foreclosure concerns and allowing him to stabilize his circumstances while awaiting CMRP’s response.

CMRP approved Ernesto’s application within a month, greatly bolstering his chances of financial recovery. The state grant allowed him to cover his overdue payments, effectively resetting his mortgage. Ernesto’s financial situation further improved when he secured new employment, marking a major turning point in his efforts to regain stability. Once he was able to make his first mortgage payment since the start of the pandemic, Ernesto realized that he could finally put a difficult period behind him.

“We are delighted to have provided the assistance and support that contributed to this positive outcome,” said Jamila Leander, LSSSC Senior Clinical Director.