Little Help from US Government for Unemployed Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Monday, June 06, 2011

housing, house, foreclosure, foreclosing House in foreclosure. (Respres/flickr)

The Treasury Department was given $46 billion to keep homeowners in their houses in 2009, but has spent less than $2 billion of that money. In April, there were more than four million mortgages in foreclosure or 90 days delinquent. The New York Times' Andrew Martin says that the primary cause of foreclosures is unemployment and that the U.S. government has not focused nearly enough attention on the problem. 

Guests:

Andrew Martin

Comments [6]

Uma Thorpe from Redmond, Wa

I think this article captures the heart of the current housing problem. The problem is getting worse not better. More and more people are turning for outside help.

The government only used $2 billion out of the $46 allocated to help remedy the problem? That is a disgrace. People are suffering.

I worked with an outside adviser and found it very helpful. The process was very emotionally draining and to have a professional who wasn't so caught up and understood the process was really helpful.

These guys are good. 1-888-301-9544. I'm sure there are other good ones out there too.

I wouldn't wish the process on an enemy, it is that unappealing. It is discouraging that banks are getting even more strict with their modifications. I am encouraged to hear that people are doing workshops and reaching out to the community. I do think this is one area where only the government is big enough to clean up this mess that is well into its third year. I am afraid the housing crisis is going to go on for a number of more years while our economy continues to wallow in the mud. Get people working. That is the only real solution I see.

Jun. 26 2011 06:32 AM
listener

Over $40 billion supposedly to help citizens will just go back into the "general fund" at Treasury?!? Where are the rest of the trillions spent in the last two years going?

Jun. 06 2011 10:52 AM
Darcy from Boynton Beach, FL

I have applied for a loan modification 4 times. I had a $3k/month drop in income this year. They recently turned me down because I did not have a secondary hardship - death, divorce, disability or breakup of non marital partnership. I guess we have to be bleeding in the ER to get any relief (maybe). The banks are greedy and clearly contributing to the foreclosure mess. They turn performing loans into non performing loans due to their inaction.

Jun. 06 2011 09:53 AM
Pam Berry from Detroit

I bought a home in Grosse Pointe Park in 2006 and tried to take advantage of the Making Home Ownership Affordable Program a couple of years later after my salary was reduced. I was originally approved but only got about a $12 a month reduction on my mortgage, which I decided was better than nothing. Then, I was a bit late on my first payment as I thought that my mortgage payments were going to be automatically withdrawn from my checking account. I was told I COULD NOT be late in my payments going forward or my loan modification woudl be cancelled. So I made my payments right on time going forward. A few months later my loan modification was cancelled because I was paying ON TIME and therefore obviously didn't need the modification. It was so unfair.

Jun. 06 2011 09:49 AM
Fabiana from Sunny Isles Beach Fl.

I happened to be living in a condo, close to the beach, for a couple of years.
In 2008 the owner told me she was putting the condo on the market but I could stay until it was sold. I'll make a long story short, she bought the condo for 359K, she asked if we were interested of course we were, but she was asking 459k, yikes, that's about 200k more than I can afford!!! so that was a no, we figured we'd stay until it got sold and rent again elsewhere.
About a year later, after she went into foreclosure, I offered 170k for the condo, 15 months later the bank approved my offer. Today I am paying $100 less a month than when I was renting.
Thanks to Obamas new homebuyers tax incentive I was able to paint, do the floors, and get new appliances. I know that a lot of people have lost their homes, and I am sorry for that, but if you couldn't afford a home in Miami before, and you have a job, guess what, today you can!
I was tired of being told that my rent was going up, or the owner's daughter was pregnant and I had to move out because she was moving in, or just that first, last and security deposit which in my case was about $4000 to $5000! Every couple of years?!
I couldn't be happier with my new home!!
I know my kids will be able to stay in the school district, keep their friends, and I feel really good knowing that nobody will tell us when we have to move.

Jun. 06 2011 09:38 AM
Jean from Morris County, NJ

I'm a college-educated, native English speaker who has been a realtor for 8 years, so I understand and should be able to navigate the mortgage system. Even so, it took me *2 years* of hell to get a loan modification on my home. There's not enough space here to tell you all the stories:
1. repeated lengthy phone interviews with *THE SAME PERSON* at Chase (over 6 months time), who then denied during the 3rd phone call that anyone had ever contacted me before, since there was "nothing in the system;"
2. Spending an hour on the phone, and asking "Are you documenting this call?" "Yes." "Are you sure?" "Yes" and then calling back the next day and being told I hadn't contacted them in 3 months, and why wasn't I responding to their requests for info? (this happened many times).
3. My case manager going out sick and her replacement putting my home up for auction despite the fact that I was compliant with my temporary loan mod (I found out 36 hours before the auction, purely by accident; they don't have to notify you);
4. Having to speak to randomly either Moe, Larry or Curly when you called; in 2 years I only had about 4 months when I had an actual case manager I could call;
5. and the final insult: 3 MONTHS AFTER my loan modification was in place (new mortgage paperwork, all signed, sealed, up to date, phew!) I found out that my home was on the sheriff's sale docket, due to be auctioned off in one week. My loan mod was final June 16, 2010; my house was set to be auctioned on September 19. Again, I found out by accident, through an investor's postcard offering to buy my house.
With these kind of things going on, what chance would someone have who didn't speak English well, or was elderly and confused, or unsophisticated about business?

Jun. 06 2011 07:37 AM

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