Government Mortgage Assistance Programs At Risk

March 11, 2011 No Comments »


A number of government mortgage assistance programs are on the chopping block after bills were introduced by House Republicans to put them to an end.

The House of Representatives today voted 242-177 to end the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program, a HUD initiative that would provide 24-month bridge loans to those unable to keep up with monthly mortgage payments due to unemployment.

A day earlier, the House voted to end the FHA Short Refinance program as well – though through December, just 15 refinances had actually been completed, despite up to $14 billion in TARP funds earmarked for the program.

Next week, debate will begin on two more government mortgage programs, including the more widely used Home Affordable Modification Program and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

HAMP has been considered a major disappointment, despite the fact that more than 600,000 permanent loan modifications have been extended to troubled homeowners under the loan program.

But 2.7 million homeowners applied, and an unknown number of those who received assistance still face the possibility of re-default.

A Congressional Oversight Panel concluded that just 700,000 foreclosures will be prevented by HAMP, while Moody’s Analytics estimated that nearly 6.7 million U.S. homes were lost to foreclosure, short sale or returned to mortgage lenders between 2000 and 2010.

Another 3.6 million homeowners are expected to lose their homes through 2013.

Both bills probably won’t make it through the Senate, and even if they do, the Obama administration has already vowed to veto them.

The only possible outcome will be tinkering with the existing programs to perhaps make them more targeted and cost-efficient.

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