Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has written a letter to President Barack Obama urging a greater focus on helping families stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. In the letter, Merkley stressed that a strong housing market is essential to future job creation. Sen. Merkley noted the shortcomings of the Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) program in securing mortgage modifications for families facing foreclosure and called for a renewed focus on repairing the battered housing market. More than 300,000 foreclosures have been filed against American families each month for the past 20 months.
“It is a tragedy to see families forced from their homes, but fixing the housing crisis is about more than preventing foreclosures,” wrote Sen. Merkley in the letter. “It is about providing stability for working families, creating jobs, and making our economy work for middle class families once again. ”
As the depressed housing market continues to hinder the nation’s economic recovery, Sen. Merkley is proposing a six point plan to boost the housing market and stem the tide of foreclosures. Merkley’s plan would do the following:
►Bolster the market by providing a permanent tax credit to assist first-time homebuyers in making a downpayment;
►Assist families facing foreclosure through a national “short refinance” program that would enable some such homeowners to refinance their mortgages based on current interest rates and home values;
►Stop the “dual track” by which banks continue moving towards foreclosure while they consider homeowners’ applications for loan modifications;
►Require loan servicers to provide homeowners with a single point of access when they seek a loan modification, which will improve accountability and ensure greater clarity during the process;
►Guarantee homeowners an independent, third-party review prior to foreclosure to ensure that laws were properly followed and homeowners were treated fairly; and
►Implement the “lifeline” bankruptcy option by providing bankruptcy judges with the power to modify the terms of home loans just as they can with vacation homes and yachts.
Click here to view Sen. Merkley’s proposal, "Paving the Way to a Healthy Housing Market."
For more information, visit http://merkley.senate.gov.