SHAHEEN CALLS ON HOUSING DEPT. TO KEEP PROMISES ON LOAN PROGRAM FOR HOMEOWNERS IN CRISIS
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to move quickly to implement its Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP). The program was designed to help provide homeowners who are in crisis due to job loss or other emergency avoid foreclosure with bridge loans and other assistance. Yet despite HUD’s stated intention to begin taking applications for the program by the end of 2010, the Department has not implemented the program.
“Many families in New Hampshire are still grappling with the effects of the recession and face foreclosure,” Shaheen said. “They have scraped by so far, but need a bridge to avoid foreclosure while they get back on their feet. This is an important step to keep prices stable for all homeowners. And while we knew this program would not be a silver bullet to solve the foreclosure crisis, it promised to provide meaningful help to families in need of assistance—help that has not arrived.”
In a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Shaheen expressed her frustration with the Department’s failure to adhere to its deadlines for the program’s implementation. In response to an earlier letter of concern Shaheen sent to Donovan in December, the Department replied that homeowners would be able to apply for the EHLP assistance in the first quarter of 2011. Shaheen noted that deadline had come and gone as well, saying it was unacceptable that not a single borrower in New Hampshire had been helped by the program yet due to bureaucratic delays.
The full text of the Senator’s letter to Secretary Donovan is below.
April 21, 2011
The Honorable Shaun Donovan
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Dear Secretary Donovan:
I am writing to express my deep frustration with HUD’s failure to implement the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) and HUD’s shifting timeline for the program’s implementation. I again urge you to move as quickly as possible to implement this program and to establish a clear timeline so that my constituents know when this critical assistance will be available.
With EHLP, Congress intended to help homeowners who are in crisis. Many families in New Hampshire continue to face foreclosure because of a job loss or other emergency. They have scraped by so far, but need a bridge to avoid foreclosure while they get back on their feet. They were hopeful when HUD announced that EHLP might be able to provide that bridge. And while we knew this program would not be a silver bullet to solve the foreclosure crisis, it promised to provide meaningful help to families in need of assistance.
That’s why it’s extremely frustrating that in the eight months since HUD announced this program, it has not helped a single borrower in my state. While I understand that new programs provide unanticipated challenges, HUD’s inability to implement this program in a timely fashion has been devastating for families looking for a way save their homes. It is unacceptable that HUD has not yet even started processing applications for this critical assistance.
HUD’s delays and faulty communication about the program’s timeline have put my constituents in limbo. HUD has twice failed to deliver on its anticipated implementation dates. When the program was announced in September, HUD stated its intention to take applications by the end of 2010. In response to my letter to you expressing frustration that HUD would not meet that deadline, Senior Advisor William Apgar told me that “homeowners will be able to apply for the EHLP assistance in the first quarter of 2011.” These dates have come and gone, and my constituents still do not have a clear idea when help might be on the way.
My constituents are aware that not every homeowner can be helped with this program. However, many view the program as their last real chance to help save their homes. The last thing they need is bureaucratic delays and changing expectations about a program that’s designed to give them hope.
I look forward to hearing from you about your plans for implementing this program.
United States Senator
Press Office, (202) 224-5553