Millions of Homeowners May Qualify for New Federal Program

Very few people would argue that job creation is the single most important issue in the country’s economic recovery. Whether you are versed or unacquainted with the details of President Obama’s jobs bill, you know that it is stalled in political quicksand.
In an effort to get passage, the President has agreed to break the bill up in an effort to seek congressional approval. The proposal would increase taxes on millionaires, lower payroll taxes on workers and businesses for a year, pay for bridge, road and construction projects and allow teachers and emergency workers to keep their jobs. As Americans wait for a serious jobs creation plan, many are struggling on unemployment benefits to keep homes that are decreasing in value.
On Monday the Obama Administration announced a new home refinancing program to allow homeowners to qualify for new loans regardless of the declining value of their homes. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) unveiled the changes no doubt in an effort to address the dire need for economic relief among American middle class families.

Media reports of the news have ranged from cynical optimism to pandering politicizing during this campaign season. It may seem like déjà vu for those who remember the original Home Affordable Refinance Program (Harp) which led to some 894,000 homeowners successfully refinancing their homes in two years. The FHFA estimated that some 1 million people would qualify for the new program.

The mortgage assistance plan by the Federal Housing Finance Administration will help borrowers with little or no equity in their homes to seek refinancing and take advantage of lower rates. The FHFA plans to remove caps that had allowed homeowners to refinance only if they owed up to 25 percent more than their homes were worth. The refinancing program is being extended until the end of 2013. It was originally scheduled to end in June 2012.
“We have far too many Americans who have paid their bills and done everything right on their mortgages and yet they’re still stuck with interest rates of 6 or 7 percent,” said Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The home refinancing program will undoubtedly be beneficial to struggling homeowners trying to keep their homes. The President is right, “we can’t wait” for our political leaders to seriously address an aggressive jobs creation plan—doing nothing is not an option.
So we invite relief for struggling homeowners but we need to get them back to work so they can afford to keep their refinanced homes. Earth to Congress—- America is tired of waiting.

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