WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is extending for another year a program aimed at helping people struggling to avoid foreclosure on their homes, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Thursday.
He said the administration is also expanding an effort to increase access to affordable rental housing. In addition, it is launching an effort to revive the portion of the mortgage market backed by private industry.
"Families and neighborhoods across the country continue to recover from the financial crisis and we must not lose our resolve to help them," Lew said at a conference marking the fifth anniversary of the government's mortgage program.
Lew said the Home Affordable Modification Program had provided relief to more than 1.3 million homeowners who have been able to permanently modify their mortgages, saving them $540 per month on average in their mortgage payments. He said the extension of the program would last at least until Dec. 31, 2016, allowing the administration to continue assisting homeowners facing foreclosure and those whose homes are "under water," with mortgages larger than the current value of the home.
Lew said that the government's mortgage-support efforts had served as a model for the mortgage industry on how to restructure loans and help homeowners.