Friday, October 3, 2008

House poor

It's not easy for Michigan homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage to find relief these days, but The Columbus Dispatch reports on some small changes that might help. Of course, compared to the proposed Wall Street bailout, it ain't much:

"If the $700 billion mortgage-lender bailout leaves you shaking your head, wondering when struggling homeowners will get theirs, consider this:

"Homeowners got some help more than a year ago.

"It was far less dramatic than today's proposal, and a Dispatch analysis of the latest data shows that Ohioans' share is shrinking.

"The help arrived in 2007, when the federal government pushed lenders to rewrite mortgages for people in danger of losing their homes. But those efforts have shifted from long-suffering states such as Ohio to hot properties in California, Arizona and Florida.

"The good news: more help could be on the way.

"The 451-page bailout approved by the Senate on Wednesday includes new lifelines for homeowners. One would require lenders and mortgage servicers to offer reasonable modifications for any loan that ends up in government hands.

"Moreover, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced new incentives Wednesday for lenders to rewrite troubled loans -- although the 'Hope for Homeowners' program, like most others, is voluntary.

"More than 4 million American homeowners with a mortgage -- a record 9 percent -- were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of June as damage from the housing crisis worsened, the Mortgage Bankers Association said last month."

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