February 18th, 2009
09:33 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Housing Help

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/18/foreclosure.plan/art.foreclosure.gi.jpg caption="President Obama's $75 billion home foreclosure plan would benefit 9 million borrowers."]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we'll have the latest on Pres. Obama's $75 billion plan to help homeowners. It targets two groups: Homeowners who owe more than their home is worth, due to falling real estate values. And, those families without a paycheck and having a tough time paying their mortgage.

Pres. Obama says the plan will help up to nine million families restructure or refinance their mortgage so they can avoid foreclosure.

Some of the key parts of the rescue plan:

– Refinance loans for homeowners currently making payments, into a 15-year or 30-year loan with a fixed rate of interest.
– Encourage lenders to cooperate by offering them $1,000 for mortgages that are modified successfully
– Modify loans for those who are struggling to make payments. The goal is to bring payments to no more than 31% of a borrower's income

You can get more details on the plan HERE.

Pres. Obama stresses this plan is for only those who "played by the rules and acted responsibly."

"It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. It will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in, but to sell. It will not help dishonest lenders who acted irresponsibly, distorting the facts and dismissing the fine print at the expense of buyers who didn't know better," said Mr. Obama today.

Others aren't happy with the plan at all.
You'll hear from them tonight, as well.

Could your home join the nearly six million others in foreclosure or at-risk for foreclosure? We want to know what you think of the plan. Share your thoughts below.

And, join us at 10pm ET for this story and more.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. concern/denver Colorado

    it really did not matter what the president did ..someone was going to be unhappy ...But they should be glad something has been done ...becasue what bush done truly did not help home owners ...

    February 18, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  2. Donna P

    I don't get it either. I'm lucky enough to have owned my home for 20 years and have never defaulted on a mortgage payment. HOWEVER, my husband's company has seen a 95% drop in their stock price and major layoffs. We live in fear that he will lose his job. We are both in our late 50's and have 2 over 20 year old children now back at home with no jobs and unable to find one. We've seen our IRA's continue to lose money. We are scraping enough money to support them and pay for their health care, but we are now living paycheck to paycheck.

    With no new Foreclosures allowed, it almost makes sense to me to just quit paying my mortgage and take care of my family. It's the health care and health insurance that's killing us.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It should be easy to eliminate people who bought a home that they could not afford when you look at the price paid versus their income...!

    February 18, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  4. Cecil

    Great Plan! I got burned a bit too and I won't get treated by the present list of prescriptions. But, instead of thinking, 'I, me and my," I'm thinking, "Wow! This is certainly going to help a lot of American home owners and probably help jump start the economy from right where it stalled." My turn will probably come but, in the meantime, it's about, "We, us, and ours.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  5. Charles

    20 years ago I had nothing and lived on little. I worked hard and hurt noone while going up the latter of prosperity. Earned things are cherished (children, home,spouse). If you take from me to give to others, this is not earnings.....BUT THEFT.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Mary Ann Walker

    Bravo on the housing plan. Next up needs to be some regulation of the interest rates charged on credit cards to put more expendable income in our hands on a monthly basis. A one time tax rebate, or stimulus check is not as helpful as looking at what will stabilize monthly income for so many Americans. Years ago, interest rate on credit cards and car loans were deductions you could list for your income taxes. That was taken away and at then the interest rates went up, up, up. We really need to get a handle on the credit card interest rates.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  7. Pam

    I am really getting tired of some people claiming they have and are doing everything right where their mortgage is concerned. They keep this pretense up that all people in trouble some how caused it themselves. I'm glad you still have your job or had your home paid for before you lost your income.

    Some like my family who's spouse has worked hard all their life but due to no fault of their own became disabled and the other spouse lost their job through no fault of their own. Now it's coming down to pay the house payment or eat and get your medication that you have to have, like diabetic, cancer issues. How it is that we are such worthless people.

    Not to mention the market that valued homes so high by apprasiers and now aren't even close to their worth. How is it the fault of the homeowner, their the ones cheated.

    I agree there are some who were living way above their means, but let's not assume that all people in trouble fall in this category.

    Pray for jobs soon.....


    February 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  8. Laurie

    Not happy at all with stimulus. Once again, it helps a select few but not all the people. It does seem that common sense has gone out of style. I sure wish someone would bail me out because I did not live within my means. Wow, maybe I need to be frivolous then I might get rewarded for being irresponsible too. Question: Who is going to monitor all of these hand outs, OH WOW new jobs because of the stimulus package already on the way! Very disappointed, but not surprised!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  9. Joan Francis

    On the matter of the Republican Party I honestly believe they all gone mad. The other day Sen. McCain who seems at the time just waking up after the election of 2008, saying that President Obama needs to do something about the housing matter, and now that he did, he is saying he took so long to do it. They (Republicans) all seems to oppose everything. Is it because they are the opposition? Yet they didn't have the answer for the past eight years. They all seems to sound like a scratched record.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  10. Joe from Prescott , Arizona

    I agree with Mark.
    We live here in Prescott, Arizona 80 miles north of Phoenix. I have worked every week for over 30 years, the last 17 with the same company. I have great credit scores (800 plus), have paid my bills and mortgage all my life, put down 75 % down on my home 2 years ago. The company I worked for closed in December and now I am unemployed for the first time since I was a kid. I called my bank to see if I could refinance my mortgage with today's better rates and it would save me over $150 per month to help me get through this.

    I was told I cannot refinance until I have a job. I believe the whole point of this housing program is to also help responsible people like Mark and myself get some help BEFORE we have to consider foreclosure! We are being responsible and are planning ahead.

    I would believe that many of the people that need help are in trouble because they are now are jobless. Many are just in way over there heads from day one.

    Hope this all works out for all who deserve the assistance! Stay tuned!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  11. Duane

    This plan only makes mention of apprasil value to date. I owe $540,000. my home only comes in at $197,000 today. If i here this latest bailout plan right and qualified for this plan, what happens to the amount that adds up to $343,000 left over under this plan? there is something wrong with this picture. It appears this is another way to refinance and stimulate banks and lenders pockets!!!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  12. Karen

    Like Mark, I'm not irresponsible and made all of my house payments – actually I made an extra month's payment each year. Now that I have lost my job, I can make March's payment but won't be able to make April's unless I get a job. By a job, I don't mean a part-time or work at MacDonalds.

    Rather than bail out banks that got us into this trouble, distribute that last $350B to us taxpayers. I could pay off my loans on my car and house. My bank you have money to lend to others and I would not have to worry about living in my car – or on the streets!!!!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  13. Niall Higgins

    the 75 billion is a good thing i think but how its spent with in the states that is the thing that i was thinking about and is there money for flood protection in the U.S.A.

    P.S. wish i could get to the meeting in canada with Harper but no money and working missing out this sucks

    February 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  14. Bryan= P.A

    The past administration left this for Americans to deal with if we do nothing America will collapse upon itself. The fortinate people whom can pay the expenses should realize not everyone is out to scam the government but inturn were scamed themseleves buy the lies of the banks and lenders! whom now will not lift a finger two help Americans. but were all two eager to fool America !Now they are coming into the homes and taking familes into the streets. The President is doing all he can to stop America from becoming victimized over and over!!!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  15. Karla

    I don't get it....Where did the wise people go that said to each his own...If you work hard enough you will have and if you don't you have nothing..Me and my husband have worked very hard for the past 30 years to get what we have....nothing was handed to us...if we lose our jobs ...we will go on and if we lose all of the things we worked hard for ...we will go on...nothing is for free..

    February 18, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  16. Joan Francis

    I thank God for President Obama for stepping in to help homeowners like myself the chance to avoid foreclosure. if possible. All I have been asking my mortgage company to do is to lower my interest rate in order for me to meet my monthly payment without struggling with other bills because I lost my job last year. It makes no sense paying a mortgage for a value of $350,000.00 which today worth $234,000.00.
    It is now cheaper to rent than to own.

    We all need to pray for our President.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  17. Genoa Long

    I am amazed at the so-called outrage .

    Where were the voices of DIS-content when the Rebuplicans and Bush were in office.

    Where were the voices when Bush divvied -up 350 billion to banks without any major oversight or accountability -what happened to that money?

    Fear of the unknown becomes inevitable but we must face this financial monster mountain now.

    If something concrete is not done immediately the housing industry is going to implode before our very eyes.

    I beleive President Obama is on the right track, what would you do?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  18. Kathy/New York

    I have been working since I'm 15 ,paying taxes ,mortgage , what do I get for paying my mortgage on time and not in default.. a kick in the butt, I get to bailout those that lied on their income, and claim they didn't understand the terms and fine print, so the government now gives them an incentive to stay and work out their mortgage probably to a lower rate and possibly a thousand dollar rebate,, this is not the american way, I get to pay for those that have lied, hmmm perhaps if we go back to the way a home was bought in the 50's and 60's when you physically had to present your weekly paycheck stubs to prove your income then get a loan approval from your local banker, that is the american way.. Instead of taking a step ahead , Im moving back 10 I'm waiting for March 4th...

    February 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  19. Addie

    I do sympathize with those who have lost their jobs in this economic downturn. But it seems to me, this housing "fix" won't fix that, particularly for those who are now relying on unemployment insurance for income. As a homeowner who also "played by the rules" there is nothing in it for me, although I am subsidizing it. Only the hope that the foreclosure next door may remain occupied, but if our houses are the same (as many in suburbia are), it does mean my next door neighbor will pay far less for his house than I am currently paying for mine. What is the incentive then for me to continue paying my mortgage?
    If it is true that 54% of those mortgages that were rewritten are again in foreclosure, what is in this new housing bill to combat that? Or can you just keep riding the government merry-go-round ad infinitum?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  20. Steve from Florida

    I am 53 and now being penalized for playing by the rules, working all my life, saving, buying real estate to help my retirement (and when I say buying real estate, I mean gradually, one property at a time totaling 4 in 15 years with 20% down and a fixed interest rate, renting the properties out, having to spend $5000.00 when a renter would leave and destroy it), investing in the stock market for retirement and my daughter's college (for 16 years), and now see all of this almost gone. I will lose 3 of these properties, and my retirement and daughter's college fund down 50%. I do not own a LCD TV, I drive a Saturn Ion, have modest furnishings, yet I am helping individuals that lived and bought way beyond their means. My choices for my properties is to let them go into foreclosure, and have someone who will buy these loans harass me for years, and when the bank sells the property at a substantial loss, send the IRS a 1099 in my name as income to me for the difference, placing a tax burden on me, or I can declare bankruptcy and have to deal with those rules.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  21. Inez

    Hello Bloggers, this whole stimulus is all wrong. We the people, the working middle class who go shopping for clothes and food and actually stimulate and keep the economy going are not getting the money in our pockets. The Banks, Wall Street and the big three auto makers are getting the money yet the consumer can't get the loan. Now many companies and State workers are being asked to take days off without pay, but we will still have the same amount of bills due and less money to pay them! I am missing something here, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Everything in the stores especially groceries are going up but we are expected to work less and not get paid. Makes no sense whatsoever.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  22. Valerie Barbeau

    My husband and I filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy 4 years ago and paid it off 2 months ago. We have talked to over 25 lenders and they have all told us that it may be years from now before we can get a loan even with this bail out. We have low 500 credit scores, so no loans. We are not behind in our mortgage. We will be if we can not refinance from 8 percent which will go up in June 09 and increases every 4 months. Where does the bail out say that you can have bad credit and get a loan. It doesn't. Our goverment needs to do its homework. Get the facts straight.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  23. Geegee

    I really don’t understand why this must be so complicated. I mean, I have faith in Barack but can’t we go with something much more simple! Fixing the housing crisis is definately vital to fixing our economy but I think that more American's should be eligible. We've been responsible but we're not in the best position right now. Also, why do Frannie and Freddy get the loans, the loans should be more direct.
    I'm not an experienced politician, but this plan seems flawed. Or maybe not, Barack Obama is smart, he'll find a way to fix this.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  24. Aishya from Columbus,GA

    We need to remember that people are losing their homes because they've lost their jobs. Not everyone in foreclosure is in that position because "they've gotten in over their heads". The major companies have outsourced jobs and some companies have closed all together. Unemployment is at an all time high. No new jobs are being created so that puts americans in a very competitive race for employment. This ultimately means that companies are going to get the best and brightest for a little of nothing. If this economy keeps going in this same direction a person will need a Bachelors degree to be a manager at McDonlads!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  25. Jeff Rieppel

    As I sit here counting coins to be wrapped that will help me
    pay my bills this month, I wonder ?

    Where is all this money coming from ?
    Who is it going to help ?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  26. Paul Ernest show

    We need this plan and much more. Republicans would not hesitate to spend triple these amounts, both in the stimulus and foreclosure, to wage wars that are sometimes meaningless, and yet they are crying foul because we are spending our own money to help ourselves. Dig ourselves out of the deep, financial presipice the pushed us all into and didn't care if the world biggest economy collapsed. Our economy is part of our national security, pride and might.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  27. Mary Jane

    I'm tired of the blame for the housing crisis being put on people living beyond their means, that's too easy. Families like ours in Rochester NY are losing their homes due to job losses at companies such as Eastman Kodak. The blame for these job losses is the failure of the federal government to stop the outsourcing of our manufacturing base to countries such as China, Mexico and India. Unless we get our manufacturing base back, we'll run on a false economy.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  28. Jane

    I have paid my mortgage on time for 14 years and now need to sell my house to move closer to my elderly mother. It seems that the stimulus is going to help people "keep" their home. How will the stimulus plan help people "get" a loan to buy my house?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  29. Candy

    Investors have purchased Rental property as a means for retirement; As most are seeing the 401's, savings, lost every american dream; We are also seeing a dramatic loss in Real Estate value; We are facing the thought of never being able to retire; As pensions, social security are all in jeopardy of being lost....... What will become of our children ?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  30. Colette

    I work hard to make the payments on my modest home. I struggle every month to pay for it. I have sold what is left of my stocks to foot the bill and have managed to stay up to date. I'm sure I will not qualify for help even though I really need it. I certainly cannot foot the bill to bail out others...even if they are my neighbors!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  31. Sara Selz

    Some of us invested our life savings in 401-Ks, not real estate. Since my 401K has lost about 60% of its value, I think you could say it's "under water", too. I was counting on that money to live on when i got too old to work. If the government is going to bail out houses, why not 401Ks?


    February 18, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  32. Yohan from Florida

    What abot hombuyers who were earning enough to afford their home when it was bout but subsequently lost their jobs and are now underemployed? I keep hearing talking heads refere to "people who bought houses but should not have done so" but that shows a lack of understanding of the true nature of the housing problem today.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  33. Austin

    What about people with these yo-yo interest rates? We planned on refinancing but can't because now you don't have a job ? It was a good vehicle when you have a job. Where is our help?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  34. Joe

    I don't agree with bailing out people who've got negative equity. The market will naturally correct and the uptick in housing in the next 5-10 years will allow their equity to normalize.

    I am disgusted that my Tax dollars are being used to bail out people who made bad choices and have taken on a debt which they can't afford.

    On another un-talked about note: All the Realtors keep commenting on the media aout the value of the properties. All they are interested is in making their commission and what's in it for them. One of the things that should be done is to mandate the maximum commission that can be made upon the sale of a property by Realtors. These are the people who are hyper-inflating the prices so that THEY benefit and not the new home owner.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  35. Geegee

    I really don't understand why this must be so comlicated. I mean, I have faith in Barack but can't we go with something much similar

    February 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  36. Shirl

    I as an American tax payer do not want to sign a blank check for irresponsible Americans who did not handle their finances, bought homes, cars and God knows what else that they were relying on credit to pay for. There are jobs out there – maybe not high paying jobs, but after going thru a divorce, I worked 3 jobs in my late 40's to keep myself afloat and put away extra plus supported a teenage daughter whom I did not get child support for. Everybody wants a handout – something for free – I am glad I have more pride than that, not to say that there are a very few that are deserving but many will just milk the system!!! People who have managed their incomes and lived responsiblely will get nothing!!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  37. Ed Martin

    Over the past five years I have watched in bewilderment at the foolish amounts of money Americans were spending on new homes in this country. I was even more shocked to see people financing these homes with no-doc loans, interest only loans, etc. "How in the world can they afford it" I often wondered. Now we all know the answer to that question. Now that reality has returned to the market, we are going to "allow people to stay in their homes" or put a different way, reward stupid decisions rooted in many cases in greed. As a homeowner who lives within my means, I am angered beyond description. Anyone with even a casual observation of the market during the past five years saw this coming...let the chips fall where they may and bring individual responsibility back into play in this country!

    February 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  38. cindy from Annapolis

    Like everything else, it seem as if this have been constructed very carelessly. How on earth will this be policed? Will there be a committee who investigates all mortgage companies to determine which ones are ethical and which are not? And how will they determine which home owners were responsible and just hit hard times and which ones were speculators. For example, in our own million dollar plus neighborhood we have a person who refinanced and refinanced two houses over and over again, using the money to live on. This person had no job!!!! Meanwhile, my husband and i have paid our bills diligently and have no debit except our home. But we have seen our 401Ks become 201Ks. We often joke, saying that things are probably going to be so bad that I will dress like Tina Turner in blade runner and live off the land.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  39. kim

    I hope it truly helps people. But people need to stop living above their means. They need to stop over appraising these home trying to get more money and weeding another element out. the houses were never worth that much anyway. these home shows did their share in over valuing the homes as well. you can't tell when you buy a home and put 2000 worth of work the value jumps 20,000 dollars.. its ridiculous. and i can't believe people fell for the sham.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  40. Laurie

    I believe that the spending in Obama's proposal buys us time to use our collective intelligence to creatively generate meaningful, 21st century jobs and wealth. We will do it! Stop the griping and move forward. My husband and I work 4 jobs between us and we don't begrudge that others will get support from Obama's new housing bill.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  41. dena

    What about those of us in one of the worst hit regions(palm beach county, fl). The housing plan only allows refinancing if you have ltv no greater than 105 percent. Most of Florida is over 150 percent upside down Will this help of the 39000 people in foreclosure in Palm Beach county?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  42. Al Dean

    We really should and need to consider real estate raffles to help homeowners in trouble. This solution would work if done at a large scale.

    Look house raffles provide a win solution for everyone involved.

    1) The distressed home owner sells their property for market value.

    2) Non – profit organization receives income from the Real Estate Raffle.

    3) A lucky individual wins a home!

    4) Plus the losing raffle ticket holder gets to feel really good about making all this possible.

    I just CAN NOT believe we are not even considering this as a solution.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  43. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    Mark! I fully understand your concern. I work for the government and have had many co-workers laid off. The only reason I have my job is because I have been employed for 22 years at this government level.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  44. Robert, Los Angeles

    I was responsible. Then my home dropped 40%. Then my investments dropped 60%. The bank will take my home in 3 to 6 months, no doubt. My reaction: Big Deal! I'll live cheap and survive, but I'll never spend like a fool again, i.e. I've become my spendthrift Grandpa.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  45. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    I am a single homeowner for 37 years. Last year I made a large loan on the home in order to do many repairs, and invest in a company I just started. I also work for the government for 22 years. I had to transfer back to an old job within the government which is $2,500 a month less due to lay-offs in California and now I am paying almost 100% of my current paycheck to the loan. If the interest could be decreased to 3%-4%, I could make the payments easily.

    I noticed that China has decreased the interest rate across the board for everyone in china in order to stimulate their economy and appears to be working.

    Would it be possible to Federalize all banks asking for hand-outs?

    February 18, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  46. Len Palmer

    Retired community – how come nothing is being said relative to help for them?

    General circumstances as we all know are:

    1. Not employable.
    2. Lost a major chunk of 401K.
    3. Own a home in California with no known lending program that
    has high enough limits to refinance/reverse mortgage.

    Much is being said about no aid for those that were not responsible financially. I think the circumstances that will drive baby boomers (huge group) into banckrupcy are paramount but not a part of the focus/dicussions. This is a bigger group than GM/Chysler/Ford. WHY>>>>>>>>>> all this silence?

    Do we need the "boomers" to stand in line at the courthouse before anyone cares.

    Len Palmer

    February 18, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  47. Glen Davenport

    Reducing foreclosures is great . But this won't help people like me that are having a hard time finding more work. In June my credit score was 750 now it is 560 because of making payments but being late. My credit card companies have lower my credit limits making my available credit low, lower my credit rating. It takes nothing for credit ratings to be lowered but is impossible to increase. With my credit rating being so low I don't even qualify for the help the government is offering. Shouldn't we fix credit ratings first so the people that need help can qualify for it. Can we go back to what your rating was Jan 1 2008 that would help me.

    February 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  48. Cameron P.

    Are we going to bailout people who have overspent on their credit cards or those people who purchased vehicles that they shouldn't have? What about a "medical bailout" for those who live unhealthy lifestyles? I can think of tons of programs to spend taxpayers' dollars to bailout bad choices, but that doesn't mean that such programs should become a reality.

    February 18, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  49. Annie Kate

    I doubt my house would qualify – we bought it about 10 years ago on a low interest VA loan and while I am on disability now we are not having any trouble so far making the payment. I don't know though if the value now is higher or lower than the price we paid for it. We will have to research that one.

    I hope the bill helps those that need it. I'm not really sure who is at fault on all this, perhaps its both sides – the loan people and the buyer. At any rate if restructuring their mortgage will keep them off the street I'm all for that. I think a lot of people have learned a pretty painful lesson from all this.

    February 18, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  50. Mark from St. Clair Shores MI

    I dont get it. I am not irresponsible and I have made my home payments
    faithfully and played by the rules. Why only Freddie and Fannie loans?
    Now I am laid off and in trouble and for the first time may not make my house payment.

    It seems to me that most Blue Collar workers who have been laid
    off and in trouble have not gotten their loans through Freddie and Fannie,
    but from your typical bank or lending institution.

    It sure seems that this is a major flaw in this plan. Will it be
    corrected to help all of the people who are in trouble?

    February 18, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
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