HUD Archives: News Releases


HUD No. 12-16
Derrick Plummer
(202) 708-0980
For Release
Tuesday
July 10, 2012

HUD AND OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS HOST NEW JERSEY WHITE HOUSE FORUM ON HOUSING
HUD, Treasury, USDA, Senior Administration Officials, along with local housing leaders and advocates discuss programs, initiatives and "best practices" for renewing New Jersey communities hardest hit by the housing crisis

WASHINGTON - The White House, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of the Treasury, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday hosted a New Jersey White House Forum on Housing to discuss programs and initiatives promoted by the Obama Administration that help responsible homeowners and struggling communities hit hardest by the housing crisis. The housing forum convened New Jersey city officials, regional and local leaders, housing and development alliances and community advocates in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the afternoon for the discussion.

"Responsible homeowners in New Jersey deserve the chance to preserve and refine their piece of the American dream, and this Administration remains focused on ensuring that every homeowner gets a fair shot, their fair share and a fair deal," said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We've come a long way since President Obama took office, foreclosures notices have reduced dramatically and neighborhood stabilization investments have helped communities decrease vacancies in hard-hit places, but we need to do more for struggling families - and nowhere is that clearer than refinancing," he said. "That's why the President is calling on Congress to act. Homeowners in New Jersey haven't walked away from their responsibilities and we can't walk away from ours. It is vital that Congress to move swiftly and deliberately to ensure access to simple, low-cost refinancing tools that sustain and strengthen home equity for all."

Forum sessions, led by Obama Administration officials, explored tools and resources offered by the Federal Government with representatives from more than 40 organizations serving homeowners across the state of New Jersey. Detailed help for homeowners, assistance for underserved communities, insights for cultivating public-private partnerships and the future of housing also headlined discussions. As well, forum participations shared "best practices" while providing feedback on the effectiveness of targeted federal programs and initiatives.

"The New Jersey Housing Forum provided us with an opportunity to continue to engage partners, stakeholders and customers on housing issues that impact our local and regional communities," said Maria Maio-Messano, Executive Director of the Jersey City Housing Authority. "In Jersey City, our goal is to develop and manage housing choices of the highest standards, which promote safe, affordable, sustainable and accessible communities. Communication is key and collaboration can encourage substantial growth opportunities for creating better lives on common ground."

The following organizations participated in the White House Forum on Housing exchange: Affordable Housing Professionals of New Jersey; Allied Mortgage Group, Inc.; Atlantic City & County Board of Realtors; Camden County Government; Center for Social Justice - Seton Hall Law School; City of Elizabeth, N.J.; City of Newark, N.J.; City of Trenton, N.J.; Clarifi of New Jersey; Destiny Realty, Inc.; Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless; Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey; Fair Share Housing Center; Faith Fellowship CDC; First Hope Bank; Franklin American Mortgage Company; Glendenning Mortgage; Glendenning Mortgage Corporation; Housing Community Development Network of N.J.; Jersey City Housing Authority; La Casa de Don Pedro; Legal Services of Northwest Jersey; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness; National Association of Real Estate Brokers; New Brunswick Housing Authority; New Jersey Association of Minority Real Estate Professionals; New Jersey Association of Realtors; New Jersey Builders Association; New Jersey Citizen Action; New Jersey Community Capital; New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Oak Mortgage Company; Operation Chillout; Princeton Community Housing; Real Estate Mortgage Network, Inc.; Rukenstein & Associates, LLC President; Saint James AME Church; and Wells Fargo, among others.

"I know many of my colleagues from across the state agree with me that the housing forum really showed the thoughtfulness, intensity and commitment that the Administration is bringing to bear to address the continued distress that many homeowners face," said Michael Meyer, Director of Housing for the City of Newark. "To convene some of the key policy makers from across the federal government to present their work to us, as practitioners on the ground - and to seek our feedback - was greatly appreciated."

In addition to conversations centered on a broad set of housing market challenges and solutions, the forum's interactive sessions allowed opportunities for expansive discussions on housing reform efforts, help for homeowners, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), rural modification assistance, FHA programs and refinancing initiatives, HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Project Rebuild, President Obama's legislative proposals and initiatives impacting housing reform, as well as the historic $25 billion Mortgage Servicing Settlement.

"The White House Forum on Housing provided a significant opportunity for New Jersey not only to get an update on the various government programs to stabilize the housing market, but to also provide feedback on what exactly is going on in our local communities and how they are affected," said Wayne T. Meyer, President of New Jersey Community Capital. "It is clear that the Administration recognizes the importance of thriving homes to families, communities and the overall economy, and how the federal government plays a significant role in helping keep people in their homes in an effort to stabilize the housing market," he said. "A healthy housing market is simply essential to the overall well-being of any community. And, although the federal government is engaged in a tremendous effort to forstall residential foreclosures and stabilize communities, it is critical to incorporate and solicit feedback from all community stakeholders, in New Jersey and elsewhere, and align programs with that input. It is incumbent on all of us to act, to ensure these programs are successful."

The unprecedented Mortgage Servicing Settlement is the largest federal-state civil agreement ever obtained and is the result of extensive investigations led by federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, HUD, the HUD Office of the Inspector General (HUD-OIG), 49 state attorneys general and state banking regulators across the country. The joint federal-state group entered into the agreement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers: Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. (formerly GMAC).

Under the $25 billion national agreement, New Jersey homeowners will receive nearly $803 million in direct relief - reducing principal balances on loans for distressed homeowners and helping thousands more who are underwater refinance. Moreover, under the terms of the settlement, New Jersey and its citizens will benefit in several important ways:

  • New Jersey borrowers will receive an estimated $635 million in benefits from loan term modifications and other direct relief;

  • New Jersey borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, and suffered servicing abuse, will qualify for $12.5 million in cash payments;

  • The value of refinanced loans to New Jersey borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth will be an estimated $83 million; and

  • The State of New Jersey will also receive a direct payment of $72 million, which will help pay for various State housing programs.

Under the settlement, participating mortgage servicers are required to contact borrowers directly regarding loan modification options in some cases. However, borrowers should not wait to hear from the banks. They should, with the assistance of a HUD-approved housing counselor, contact their mortgage servicer to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and whether they qualify under the terms of this settlement.

New Jerseyans interested in learning more details can contact:

  • The Office of New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa (www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases12/pr20120209a.html): (609) 292-492
  • Making Home Affordable: (888) 995-HOPE (4673)

Other useful resources are below:

  • NationalMortgageSettlement.com (www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/)
  • Makinghomeaffordable.gov (www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-payments/Pages/hamp.aspx)

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Content Archived: April 7, 2014