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Some Homeowners “Fall through Cracks” in Obama Rescue Plan

February 20, 2009

New York, NY — Local experts say President Obama’s $75-billion plan to help distressed homeowners is a good start, but it fails to reach all New Yorkers who are underwater with bad home loans. They claim homeowners upstate will receive the most help, while many in the New York metro area could be left to drown.

Josh Zinner, co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, says the plan is a big improvement over the Bush administration's voluntary moves, but he criticizes the plan's inequity between upstate and city homeowners.

"In Rochester or Syracuse, homes are worth $50,000, which means there’s room there to modify, but here in New York City, you have working poor who have $350,000 mortgages. It would take a lot more pressure to modify those mortgages."

At the Farmingville Residents Association, Susie Bogden-Sweeney says the president is correct that whole neighborhoods can suffer from a few bad loans, but she's concerned about his remedy.

"Homes are being boarded up and the value of homes are going down; definitely it’s going to affect your home, there’s no question about that. My only concern is how they’re helping. I think the plan's not broad enough; it needs to focus on everybody who is having trouble."

Critics of the plan say it could reward people who made bad bets and even invite fraud. Zinner says in order to help most homeowners, changes need to be made to the bankruptcy code to allow them to modify the terms of bad loans.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY