Merkley Unveils Plan to Boost the Housing Market and Stem the Tide of Foreclosures

Portland, OR –
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today visited the North Portland home of a family who is struggling to keep their home and unveiled his plan to address the ongoing foreclosure crisis and boost the nation’s troubled housing market.  A range of economists have concluded that repairing the housing market is critical to adding jobs and accelerating the slow recovery.

“We’re not going to see a true economic recovery until we do something about the broken housing market,” said Merkley.  “I met with Portland homeowners today who dealt with months of confusing instructions to get a mortgage modification, only to be told 10 months later they didn’t qualify and their home was facing foreclosure. My plan will put homeowners first and foreclosures last.”

“I hope, as do all Americans, that the economy will improve; now more than ever the average American needs to know they are going to be protected when circumstances spiral out of their control,” said Connie Umphress, a local homeowner who is struggling to keep her home.  “This legislation will do both, help first time buyers with incentive to invest in their community and help homeowners with systems that they can trust for their financial security.”

Merkley met with Portland homeowners today who have painfully struggled through the confusing mortgage modification process for over a year and are still waiting for a permanent loan modification.

Over 300,000 foreclosures have been filed against American families each month for the past 20 months.  In the past year, nearly 28,000 Oregon families have been served with foreclosure filings.

As the depressed housing market continues to hinder the nation’s economic recovery, Senator Merkley is proposing a six point plan to boost the housing market and stem the tide of foreclosures.  Merkley’s proposal would do the following:

  • Bolster the market by providing a permanent tax credit for first-time homebuyers;
  • Assist families facing foreclosure through a national “short refinance” program that would enable homeowners who are facing foreclosure to refinance their mortgages based on current interest rates and home values;
  • Stop the “dual track” that continues foreclosures while loan modifications are evaluated until it is determined that the borrower is not eligible or does not qualify for a loan modification;
  • Provide homeowners with a single point of access when they seek a loan modification to improve accountability and ensure greater clarity during the process;
  • Establish a third-party review prior to foreclosure and fully enforce existing law; and
  • Implement the “lifeline” bankruptcy option by providing bankruptcy judges with the power to modify the terms of home loans just as they can with vacation homes and yachts.

Read more about Merkley’s proposal on the web: Merkley’s Plan to Keep Families in their Homes.pdf