A $50 billion federal program designed to to help homeowners fight foreclosure was revamped today to boost aid for homeowners struggling with unemployment or mortgages greater than their home is worth because of declining property values.
The U.S. Treasury Department estimated the program funded by Troubled Asset Relief Program dollars will help three to four million homeowners nationwide refinance their mortgages to a more affordable rate by the end of 2012.
“This is a national program, designed to reach borrowers in Ohio as well as other states,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary Michael S. Barr. “It is quite responsive to a set of concerns facing borrowers in Ohio.”
Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has chaired numerous House of Representatives subcommittee hearings on the foreclosure crisis, has worked closely the Treasury Department to improve its programs to help troubled borrowers.
“What they have shown today, with these modifications, is that their eyes are wide open about what needs to be done to make the program more effective,” said Kucinich.
Kucinich noted that the first victims of the foreclosure crisis, starting in 2004 and 2005, were in places like Cleveland, where “whole neighborhoods have been hollowed out by this foreclosure crisis.” Unemployment and declining property values have been particular problems for Cleveland area homeowners, he said.
A Treasury Department news release on the program stressed that it’s not designed to aid investors, speculators, “Americans living in million dollar homes or defaulters on vacation homes.”
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Article courtesy cleveland.com