Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston finally speaks out on something everyone else already knows - that the Hope for Homeowners program isn’t working.
Preston told the Washington Post that the program, created by Congress this summer as part of a mortgage rescue bill, has been a failure. In a particularly bold move, he then blamed all the problems on Congress.
From the Post:
“What most people don’t understand is that this program was designed to the detail by Congress,” Preston said. “congress dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s for us, and unfortunately it has made this program tough to use.”
So. HUD has known the details of this program since it was created last summer - when Congress dictated its terms. Surely, it knew, as everyone else in the housing world did, that early on the program was in trouble. Many econobloggers wrote about Hope for Homeowners getting only 42 applications in its first two weeks, after the program was launched Oct. 1. That would be known as a “red flag,” to most people. HUD also was well aware of the downsizing over the years of the Federal Housing Administration, and concerns that FHA could get the program off the ground.
Cities hit with foreclosures have been well aware of the problems. As TWI reported, the $4 billion that communities will get under that same rescue bill to clean up foreclosures was supposed to be part of a package of aid. That aid was supposed to include government-backed loan guarantees for the refinancing of 400,000 borrowers, under Hope for Homeowners.
But since the refinancings didn’t work out, cities and towns are left with only the $4 billion to clean up the mess - a sum far too small to make much difference.
HUD Secretary Steve Preston probably is right on the mark when he complains that Congress made the program too complicated to work well. He may be correct that Congress shouldn’t meddle that much in a housing program, and that it has no business fashioning the nuts and bolts of loan refinancing.
But Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., isn’t a loan processor, either. HUD and its Federal Housing Administration knew early on the difficulties with Hope for Homeowners. Its failure was no secret. The time to speak out was right away, with foreclosure piling up every month.
But as TWI noted on Tuesday, HUD isn’t exactly at the top of its game. It’s not bravery to speak out long after the fact, and then blame someone else. HUD and the FHA are supposed to get things right the first time around - and if they can’t, or if Congress stands in the way, it’s their job to move quickly to fix things.
Now it’s mid-December, and HUD is getting around to speaking up. Wonder how many people who needed help didn’t get it, since the problems with Hope for Homeowners first became clear.
Giffords shooting leads nation to introspection and political finger wagging
In the wake of the shooting in Arizona this weekend that critically injured Rep.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some