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Capps Calls on California Housing Finance Agency to Help Homeowners

Congresswoman wants 'real assistance' provided through new Keep Your Home program

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Wednesday called on the California Housing Finance Agency to provide “real assistance to California homeowners” when it debuts its new Keep Your Home California program next month.

Capps and 27 of her California colleagues have asked CalHFA Executive Director Steven Spears to meet with them to discuss how CalHFA will avoid problems that have plagued existing efforts to help homeowners, including the banks’ ongoing unwillingness to work constructively with borrowers to achieve more affordable monthly payments.

CalHFA’s proposal for the Keep Your Home California program suggests that the program will be able to assist 40,000 or more homeowners in California.

“The fallout from the financial crisis and the recession continues to hurt homeowners in our community and nationwide,” Capps said. “It’s clear from the continued high rate of foreclosures and the recent mishandling of foreclosure paperwork by Wall Street banks that more must be done to help struggling families avoid foreclosure. Remember, foreclosures at this high rate hurt not only the family losing their home but can devastate home values for innocent homeowners in the same neighborhoods and towns. I’m committed to working with CalHFA to ensure that this program can help as many Californians stay in their homes as possible.”

The Keep Your Home California program has received funding through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund Program, which provides funds to state housing agencies in states that have been hit particularly hard by the housing crisis.

CalHFA has outlined a program that includes principal reduction, bridge loans for unemployed homeowners, mortgage reinstatement assistance for delinquent homeowners, and transition assistance for struggling homeowners moving to new housing.

In September, Capps joined the California Democratic congressional delegation in urging Attorney General Eric Holder, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh to investigate systemic wrongdoing by financial institutions in their handling of delinquent mortgages, mortgage modifications and foreclosures. Holder agreed to look into the problems and banks across the country subsequently announced a suspension of foreclosures while paperwork irregularities and other misdeeds were investigated. While some banks have resumed proceedings, others have not and the investigation continues.

Click here for the full text of the letter to Holder.

— Randolph Harrison is the chief of staff for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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