Senate Passes New Housing Bill

Senate Passes New Housing Bill WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate passed the "Helping Families Save Their Homes Act," which is cosponsored by Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL). The bill expands the H4H program, which has been criticized as being ineffective because of a low number of applicants. The bill hopes to make the plan more "user friendly."

"In communities across the nation, the scourge of foreclosure is a deepening problem – in my home state of Connecticut alone, it is projected that some 17,700 homes will go into foreclosure in 2009," said Dodd. "This bill will equip homeowners and lenders with new and improved tools to combat foreclosures, and it will ensure that the tools are easier to use. It will also help banks to increase their lending to small businesses and American consumers. While this bill is not a cure-all for our nation's economic troubles, it makes important contributions towards the protection of American homeownership and a healthier banking system."

The legislation "updates the H4H program to make it more user-friendly and effective, including: lowering fees; streamlining borrower certification requirements; banning millionaires from the program; and allowing for incentive payments to servicers and originators to participate in the program," according to a release from Dodd.

The bill includes an additional $130 million for foreclosure prevention efforts including counseling, additional fair housing field employees, and educating the public about foreclosure scams.

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