Making Home Affordable Five Years Later
Mark McArdle, Chief of the Homeownership Preservation Office
Since the launch of Making Home Affordable (MHA) in 2009, Treasury has worked diligently to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure, and stabilize the nation’s housing market. So far, nearly two million mortgage assistance actions have been provided under MHA to offer relief to struggling homeowners. Treasury’s programs have also changed the way the industry interacts with its struggling borrowers. Many private sector modifications now look a lot like HAMP modifications, with over four million homeowners in private sector modifications benefiting from the framework of the HAMP program.
To date, there have been more than 1.3 million permanent mortgage modifications obtained by homeowners through MHA’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Homeowners in HAMP save a median of approximately $544 on their mortgage payments each month, reducing their monthly payments by about a third. This meaningful payment reduction makes HAMP a more affordable and sustainable solution than many other programs in the marketplace today.
Over the last five years, MHA programs have continued to evolve, in response to changing conditions and the needs of the nation’s struggling homeowners. The Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP) provides temporary relief to unemployed homeowners while they look for another job. Those needing to transition to more affordable housing can access short sales or deeds in-lieu-of foreclosure through our Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. And, underwater homeowners have received more than $13 billion in principal reduction through HAMP’s Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA) program.
Program changes and enhancements –from the assignment of a Single Point of Contact to the application of a standard modification protocol – have all helped and protected struggling homeowners. Most recently, Treasury required the largest servicers in HAMP to offer financial counseling to homeowners who have received modifications under HAMP to help them stay current on their mortgage payments.
From launching three national Public Service Advertising campaigns to hosting more than 90 “Help for Homeowners” events, we have looked for ways to raise awareness of MHA and provide homeowners with the information and guidance they need to get in -- and stay in -- the program. The Homeowner’s HOPETM Hotline (888-995-HOPE), where homeowners can learn if they are eligible for MHA and receive free advice from HUD-approved housing counselors, is always just a phone call away. Not only is this MHA resource available 24 hours a day, but homeowners can get assistance in more than 170 different languages.
While the economy is showing signs of recovery, there are still many families in need of mortgage assistance. Given the continuing need to help these homeowners, MHA has been extended until December 2015. We will keep working to ensure that homeowners who need help know where to go to get it. We’ve worked hard these past five years to help stabilize the housing market, but recognize there are still homeowners who need help. Understanding that need, we will continue our strong efforts beyond our five year anniversary to help educate homeowners about the program and the options available to them.
Mark McArdle is the Chief of the Homeownership Preservation Office at the United States Department of the Treasury.
Making Home Affordable