The Home Affordable Refinance Program, which was launched by the Obama administration in 2009, has since assisted over three million homeowners, which remains short of the program’s goal of five million established prior to its launch, but nonetheless a solid number considering the roadblocks it encountered during its first few years. FHFA Director Melvin L. (Mel) Watt described the milestone as an “important accomplishment”, one that “represents real help to families and communities still struggling as a result of the mortgage crisis.”
Watt added that the U.S. government is still “continuing (its) efforts to make sure that those who can take advantage of this program have the information they need to do so.”
After initial complaints from homeowners regarding missing paperwork and draconian standards for eligibility, HARP activity had taken off in 2012 and 2013, following reforms initiated by the FHFA to make the program’s policies less restrictive for consumers. This allowed troubled homeowners to reduce their mortgage payments over the life of loan, while in many cases, avoid foreclosure as well.
Despite its rocky start, the HARP scheme has since been lauded as one of the most efficacious efforts on the U.S. government’s part to help consumers avoid foreclosures, and has also been extended to December 31, 2015. The government continues to disseminate information to homeowners around the country and educate them about the benefits of taking advantage of the HARP program.