Obama to step up housing reform

Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- After a push from Democrats and liberal activists, President Barack Obama is expected to take a more aggressive stance to protect homeowners, backers say.

"There's an understanding now in the administration that there needs to be a comprehensive strategy to diminish the foreclosure rate and clean up the housing problem," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Frank said although the economy is showing good movement, the Obama administration needs to do something about housing, The Hill reported Sunday.

"There's a lot of conversation going on," Frank said.

Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a leader in advocating for homeowner relief, said the administration is gearing up for action.

"They're examining all the options that can contribute to a solution," he said. "The administration is beginning to look at how its influence can encourage" lenders to help underwater borrowers."

A White House official said Obama has been working on the housing crisis since he came into office, but in coming months he will step up his efforts.

"From day one the president has worked to stabilize the housing market and help responsible homeowners stay in their homes, including through refinancing efforts, foreclosure prevention programs and programs directed at the hardest hit states," said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.

"The president will continue to expand on these efforts and look at new ways to help homeowners, just as he has over the past few months with new programs to help underwater homeowners and expanding forbearance so more unemployed homeowners can stay in their homes," she said.

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