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Ellen Tauscher introduces anti-foreclosure bill

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, introduced a bill Wednesday that would let the California Housing Finance Agency issue an estimated $10 billion in new bonds to help refinance “underwater” mortgages and jump-start growth in neighborhoods devastated by home foreclosures.

The bill also would grant CalHFA the power to use Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) money to help families refinance their homes at a price they can afford in order to avoid foreclosure.

“Foreclosures are decimating neighborhoods from Fairfield to Antioch and Oakley,” Tauscher said in her news release. “This legislation will help families in the hardest hit areas get the additional resources they need to stay in their homes and keep these vibrant communities from disappearing.”

Tauscher’s co-authors on the bill are Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater; Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.; and Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y.

Cardoza’s Central Valley district includes more than half of the city of Stockton, which has been rocked by one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates. “As I have continued to say, the foreclosure crisis remains at the heart of our nation’s economic crisis. It is imperative that we pursue all means to address this problem and ensure that taxpayer funds are being used in the most responsible way,” he said.

UPDATE @ 8:36 A.M. THURSDAY: Click here for a copy of the bill.

Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
Under: Dennis Cardoza, Ellen Tauscher, housing, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | No Comments »

Congressional triumvirate helps avert foreclosures

Alexis has two young children, a husband injured on the job and a mortgage payment her family’s reduced income no longer covers.

“We’re about $1,000 a month short and with the economy the way it’s going, we’re in trouble,” said the Martinez mother who asked that we use only her first name. “I’m hoping I can get our lender to work with us for about six months.’

Alexis was one of several hundred people who attended a day-long mortgage foreclosure prevention workshop today jointly sponsored by three members of Congress, U.S. Reps. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, George Miller, D-Martinez and Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Area homeowners met with HUD-certified housing counselors, lenders and community resource organizations. They also heard from experts how to avoid scams and illegal loans, options to foreclosure, tax implications and bankruptcy.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE PACKET HANDED OUT AT THE WORKSHOP. IT INCLUDES RESOURCE PHONE NUMBERS AND INTERNET ADDRESSES, TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS AND MORE.

“You have taken a huge step by coming here today,” said Miller from the podium at the United Association Plumbers and Steamfitters union hall in Concord. “Forget the embarrassment. Many people are in trouble, many of them through no fault of their own. You must reach out to lenders and admit you have a problem. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

The congressional triumvirate convened the foreclosure prevention forum to help stem the rising foreclosure tide sweeping across the nation and California.

The East Bay has been hit hard as people on the economic edge stretched into risky loans or borrowed on home equity that no longer exists.

As people lose their homes and banks dump the properties on the market at discounted prices, everyone’s home values decline, Tauscher said. That leads to even greater numbers of homeowners whose houses are no longer worth what they paid for them.

Tauscher and her two East Bay colleagues support legislation that would allow banks to voluntarily reduce loans up to 30 percent and negotiate new mortgages with homeowners. Similar versions of the bill passed in the House and the Senate and await the outcome of a conference committee.

To help restore faith in homeownership as an investment and reduce the number of foreclosed homes for sale, the legislation also includes a tax credit for nervous but qualified first-time homebuyers who need a push to persuade them to enter the fragile market.

Are you behind on your house payments? Don’t wait until it’s too late to save your home and your credit. Call and get help or look on-line for assistance:
– HUD housing counselors: 800-569-4287 or www.hud.gov/counseling
– Hope Now, industry alliance: 1-888-995-4673 or www.hopenow.com

Posted on Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Under: Congress, housing | No Comments »