Obama Unveils Funding for Hardest-Hit Housing Markets
At a Feb. 19 speech in Nevada, President Obama announced plans to allocate $1.5 billion to state finance agencies to develop new foreclosure prevention programs, according to a White House news release. The funds will be available to states where average home prices fell more than 20 percent from market peak. Obama was joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., whose state has been amongst the hardest hit.
“During these difficult economic times, we will work to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes and stabilize the housing market so home values can rise,” Obama said during the speech. “This program will allow housing finance agencies in the places hardest-hit by the housing crisis find innovative ways to help homeowners stay afloat, and empower local agencies that know these communities best.”
Because housing markets vary considerably from state to state – and often within a single state – state and local housing finance agencies will be responsible for overseeing the funds. “Housing finance agencies are intimately engaged already in their local housing markets, and will play the lead role in determining what sorts of programs are most appropriate to local conditions,” according to the news release.
Each housing financing agency will determine the priorities for their communities while following strict transparent accountability rules, according to the release. The agencies will be able to use the funds to address difficult, locally important challenges in their regions, including aiding unemployed and underwater borrowers.