Brown asks Obama to include Ohio in foreclosure program


Brown asks Obama to include Ohio in foreclosure program

The Columbus Dispatch – The Obama administration is taking a raft of criticism from fellow Democrats in Ohio when it comes to the White House’s approach to aiding states facing big home foreclosure problems – and the latest shot comes this morning from Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The Ohio Democrat has written a sharply critical letter to President Barack Obama about Ohio’s exclusion from a $1.5 billion foreclosure prevention initiative announced last week by Obama in Nevada – one of five states helped by the program. And just to amplify his critique, Brown put a press release trumpeting the letter, too.

When The Dispatch last week wrote about Ohio’s exclusion – California, Mi chigan, Arizona and Florida are the other states that Obama would aid – Brown and other Ohio Democrats were quick to express their unhappiness. On Monday, Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, relayed those concerns to an aide to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel when he visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with other governors during a National Governors Association meeting. But Strickland told reporters afterwards that the response didn’t indicate any changes would be made in the program.

Brown tells Obama in his letter that Ohio already is not adequately being aided by an existing federal foreclosure relief program. The state continues to rank forty-eighth among the fifty states and the District of Columbia in the number of homeowners who have been able to modify their mortgages for lower payments through Home Affordable Modification Program, Brown wrote, with less than 15 percent of seriously delinquent loans modified through the program and only eight percent of trial modifications converted into permanent ones. Much more needs to be done through this existing program to help more Ohio families avoid foreclosure by allowing them to refinance their mortgages and achieve lower monthly payments, Brown says.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the proposal for new proposal, there is no justification for leaving out Ohio, Brown told Obama, noting that Ohio foreclosures have almost tripled over the past decade.

“Rather than reflecting the rapid boom and bust created by the housing bubble, foreclosures have increased steadily for fourteen consecutive years,” Brown said in his letter to Obama. “I urge you to expand your program’s criteria or expeditiously create an alternative proposal to include states that have suffered prolonged losses due to persistent foreclosure increases.

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