Stephanie Valencia with the Office of Public Liaison wanted to give an update on a new resource on the President’s housing plan for people who need help to find out if they are eligible.
At midnight last night the Treasury Department took a great step to ensure that everybody who can take advantage of the President housing plan can do so, helping to put the brakes on the foreclosure crisis, launching MakingHomeAffordable.gov
– a site where you can find out everything you need to know about the President’s plan and whether you qualify. As somebody involved in conversations about this effort over the past weeks, I was excited to be able to talk about it here on the White House blog -- be sure to check out the calculator that allows homeowners to estimate the reduction to their monthly mortgage payment that they might get under the plan.
Yesterday Marketwire reported
that the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline (888-995-HOPE) is being overwhelmed with calls – more than 124,000 homeowners have called in looking for help since the President announced his housing plan. That’s good news because it means the word is getting out about how to get help, and as it happens that’s part of what we do here in the Office of Public Liaison – help make sure the word gets out. But to fight back against this epidemic we need to do everything we can to make the information as prevalent as possible, and that’s what MakingHomeAffordable.gov
Last week, we met with over 50 people from the PICO National Network, a faith based, grassroots organization, who trekked cross country on busses they call the Recovery Express to highlight and bring the true face to the housing and foreclosure crisis that has enveloped our nation to Washington, DC. They traveled from Antioch, California to Denver, to Kansas City, to Springfield, IL, to Chicago, IL, to Flint, MI, to Camden, NJ all the way to DC. They put a face to the 3 million families who have lost their homes. There were stories of heart break, injustice and down right criminality on behalf of some predatory and irresponsible lenders. Their hardship and heartbreak are a reminder that while this crisis is vast, it begins just one house – and one family – at a time. A reminder about why we are here to try and undo some of the fiscal mess that we are in. See the video at the site to hear more stories of how good, responsible people can end up in situations like that, and how the plan can help.
We talked to them about the President’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, which will help between seven and nine million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can avoid foreclosure. It will allow refinancing of loans for millions of families in traditional mortgages who are underwater or close to it by modifying loans for families stuck in sub-prime mortgages they can’t afford as a result of skyrocketing interest rates or personal misfortune; and by taking broader steps to keep mortgage rates low so that families can secure loans with affordable monthly payments.
While our plan may not save every homeowner in trouble, it will give millions of families a chance to rebuild. Solving this crisis will require more than resources – it will require each of us to take responsibility, to reach out to our neighbors and offer support and guidance, to engage with the government and work together to find solutions. And it will require those of us who are eligible to participate in the President’s plan to reach out and get the help like 124,000 people already have. Like the families from the PICO Network that came by and shared their stories with us it will require each of us to take action. Together we can help rebuild the American Dream house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood and city by city.
So again, if you need help and think you might be eligible, go to MakingHomeAffordable.gov
, if you know somebody else who has been responsible but like so many others is struggling to stay afloat, send them that link. All hands on deck!
(Stephanie Valencia of the Office of Public Liaison speaks at the PICO meeting. Photo credit Yosi Sergant, 3/10/09)
(Buffy Wicks of the Office of Public Liaison speaks at the PICO meeting. Photo credit Yosi Sergant, 3/10/09)
(Members of the PICO National Network listen during the meeting. Photo credit Yosi Sergant, 3/10/09)
(The PICO "Recovery Express" bullhorn. Photo credit Yosi Sergant, 3/10/09)