The threat of losing a home to foreclosure is not only traumatic for families, it also undermines the stability of entire communities and the overall solvency of our banking system. I will continue working to ensure the people of western Wisconsin have access to as much housing assistance as possible.
On February 9, 2012 the five largest mortgage lenders reached a $25 billion settlement with 49 states over foreclosure abuses that took place after the housing bubble burst. The settlement forces the five mortgage lenders to reduce loans for about 1 million households, benefiting homeowners who are behind on their payments and owe more than their homes are worth.
In addition, another 750,000 Americans -- about half of the households who might be eligible for assistance under the deal - will likely receive checks for about $1,800 each.
Under the deal:
- Roughly $1.5 billion for direct payouts, in the form of $2,000 checks, for about 750,000 Americans who were unfairly or improperly foreclosed upon; another $3.5 billion will go directly to states.
- At least $10 billion for reducing mortgage amounts.
- Up to $7 billion for other state homeowner programs.
- At least $3 billion for refinancing loans for homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but who are underwater.
- Under the terms of the settlement, Wisconsin is set to receive $140 million
The banks involved will identify eligible participants, but that search process could take six to nine months. If you make your monthly payments to one of the five banks involved, you should contact them to see if you are eligible. Here are the numbers:
Bank of America: (877) 488-7814
If you are having trouble paying your mortgage or are at risk of foreclosure, there are assistance programs available to help you. The first step you should always take is to contact your lender.
I also strongly encourage you to call the national foreclosure help hotline at 1-888-995-4673.
In addition, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) also serves as a useful tool in providing local resources to alleviate problems faced by residents of western Wisconsin. WHEDA’s Wisconsin Foreclosure Resource provides links to counseling agencies, lenders, real estate agents, rentals, legal advice and other means of help located right in your community.
Below is a list of government resources available to help you work out a plan to ease the burden of home foreclosure or mortgage payments.
Hope Now Alliance
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)
Use this link to find the agency that best serves your area.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Click here for more information.
If you're a homeowner and have questions about whether you qualify for a loan modification or refinancing under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (also known as HARP 2.0), contact the Homeowner's HOPE hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE or go to MakingHomeAffordable.gov.
Here are some additional links and reports you may find helpful as well as a platform to share your story.
There's also a Facebook page for reporting on foreclosures.