FHA Reaches Out to 850,000 At-Risk Homeowners
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is mailing hundreds of thousands of letters to at-risk homeowners who need a more affordable alternative to the high-cost mortgages they are currently paying. The first round of 280,000 letters was sent recently, with another 570,000 letters to be sent through September 2008.
"For hundreds of thousands of families, this letter might be the most important piece of mail they receive all year," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "Not only could this information keep a roof over their heads, it could provide them with financial sustainability and security for the long term. Our aggressive outreach will ensure families are educated about the safe mortgage alternative that FHA offers."
These letters are being sent to homeowners who have already faced or are experiencing the first reset of their adjustable rate mortgages, and live within geographic locations that are currently subject to FHA loan limits nationwide. Currently, FHA can insure home loans valued between $200,160 and $362,790. Bipartisan legislation has passed both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives that would increase the loan limits, allowing FHA to insure bigger mortgages in high-cost states. Once this bill is reconciled and signed by President Bush, approximately 250,000 more families could be helped this year at no cost to the taxpayer.
FHA-insured loans are backed by the full faith and credit of the government, which typically allows lenders to offer mortgage products at a lower, more affordable interest rate. More than 90 percent of FHA-backed mortgages are 30-year, fixed rate products. FHA also provides a one-of-a-kind loss mitigation program that helps protect borrowers against foreclosure. Finally, FHASecure, which allows borrowers who are current and delinquent on their loans to refinance with the FHA, is saving tens of thousands of families on average $400 a month compared to their exotic subprime loans.
Below is a complete copy of the letter being sent to homeowners.
Do you need help with your mortgage?
Your area is experiencing a disturbing home foreclosure rate that has accelerated in recent months. News reports cite the damaging effects of "subprime loans" as a major factor in the unsettled market. By focusing on education and safe mortgage alternatives, though, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working diligently to address this unacceptable foreclosure trend.
Over the past few months, FHA has worked with mortgage loan servicers to identify solutions for the crisis facing current homeowners. Your current mortgage does not have to be FHA insured for you to benefit from our help. If you are facing financial difficulties due to a recent or imminent mortgage reset, or other housing-related difficulty, I urge you to contact us at 1-800-CALL-FHA or to visit www.fha.gov. There you will have the opportunity to learn about foreclosure prevention, legal rights, and credit counseling, among other topics.
Many homeowners may also be able to take advantage of our recently announced FHASecure program. This new program allows eligible homeowners to refinance into a secure, fixed-rate FHA loan even if they are in default.
Additionally, a new partnership between mortgage companies and non-profit housing counselors called HOPE NOW is available to you. Their mission is simple: reach out to homeowners who may be having difficulty paying their mortgages. For more information or to see if your mortgage company is a member of this caring coalition please go to www.hopenow.com.
Again, please contact us at 1-800-CALL-FHA (800-225-5342) or go to www.fha.gov. As part of the federal government, the Federal Housing Administration wants to help you protect and preserve the American dream - your home.
Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner