Make Harp 3.0 Happen

Advocating for The Expansion of the Home Affordable Refinance Program

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Tell Congress to Support HARP 3.0 Related Bills

I am posting these widgets as an easy way for you to write Congress and tell them to support legislation related to HARP 3.0 that is currently stalled in committee. There are three such widgets/bills. Submit once for each to tell Congress to Make HARP 3 Happen!


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Good News For Underwater Oregonians, RAHAPP Extended Statewide

While policy makers at the federal level have failed to help underwater homeowners still struggling from the fallout of the financial crisis of 2008, at least one state is making headway to provide real assistance. Oregon is expanding the Rebuilding American Homeownership Assistance Program (RAHAPP) statewide after an eight month trial in the counties surrounding Portland. Not only is the program being expanded to all counties within the state, the eligibility requirements are also being loosened.

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RAHAPP is the HARP-like program known as the “The Merkley Mortgage” proposed by Senator Jeff Merkley. Here is how the program works: The state of Oregon buys the mortgage from borrowers accepted into the program and refinances it into a new 30-year loan with a 5 percent interest rate. Borrowers also have the option to refinance to a 15-year mortgage at a 4 percent rate. The program is designed for homeowners ineligible for HARP 2.0 because their mortgages are not secured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The startup costs for the program are being funded by the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Funds that were allocated to Oregon in 2010. RAHAPP is designed to be self supporting. Payments from homeowners in the program should cover the costs of any defaults.


This is great news for underwater homeowners in Oregon that have been waiting for HARP 3.0. Other states that have been sitting on, or misusing their Hardest Hit Funds should take note of this program. MakeHarp3Happen created a Change.org petition last year that urged all states that were allocated Hardest Hit Funds to implement “The Merkley Mortgage“. The petition is still active, so please go sign it.

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Housing Recovery Perceptions Are Hindering HARP 3.0

HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock:

Failure of The Obama Administration, Congress, The FHFA, and Other Policy Makers To Implement HARP 3.0 Has Now Reached 2034 days 4 hours 43 minutes 48 seconds

Please click here to sign the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition
 

Since launching The HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition two weeks ago it has become painfully evident to me that the perceptions of this sham housing recovery are greatly hampering the efforts of underwater homeowners that are pushing to expand the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The perception held by policy makers, the media, and much of the public is that the housing recovery has resolved the issue of negative equity home ownership. It simply isn’t true. Millions of people are still underwater on their mortgages. And what is really scary is that housing recovery is way softer than most people realize. This sham housing “recovery” has been greatly fueled by investors making all cash purchases and sales of distressed homes. We are a long long way from a true housing recovery. But the cries of assistance have fallen on deaf ears. I spared no expense in blasting a press release to announce the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition. I followed up that media blitz with hundreds of emails to individual members of the media. The result: two small articles and a couple of email responses from journalists that have promised to check it out. It is actually quite amazing the number of signatures we have managed to garner with virtually no exposure from the media.

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What really burns me up is that yesterday the FHFA issued a release that the HARP program has officially passed the 3 million loan mark. The media jumped on this news as an opportunity to declare the HARP program as a great success. This would have been a perfect chance for news organizations to also mention how many people have not been helped by HARP, and how many underwater homeowners could benefit from HARP 3.0. Much like our policy makers, the media has dropped the ball on this under reported story. Even worse is that the HARP program is touted for being a much greater success than it truly is. At the height of the housing crisis more than 15 million homeowners were underwater. Several million other homeowners had so little equity that refinance opportunities outside of HARP weren’t available. Less than 1 out of every 5 homeowners that the HARP program was designed to help have been able to refinance under HARP. 20% is a pretty crummy success rate if you ask me.
 

Here is the list of media coverage the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition has received thus far:
HousingWire.com: Find out who wants to force HARP 3.0
 
MyMortgageInsider.com: HARP 3: Experts Weigh In on When New HARP Program will Happen
 

HARP 3.0 Petition Progress and Other News

HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock:

Failure of The Obama Administration, Congress, The FHFA, and Other Policy Makers To Implement HARP 3.0 Has Now Reached 2034 days 4 hours 43 minutes 48 seconds

Please click here to sign the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition
 
The Petition has passed the one week mark, and now we are in the media blitz phase. Yesterday I sent out a press release to inform the media about the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock. For this to be successful we really need some media attention. Click here to view the press release.

 
I need your help to make this thing take off. If you support HARP 3.0 and you want to do something to make it happen, send me an email. My address is marcus(at)makeharp3happen(dot)com.

Underwater homeowners need to fight for this. Nothing is going to be given to us. In fact, what little assistance that was available to us is being taken away. In 2010 $7.8 billion in “Hardest Hit Funds” were distributed to 18 states to assist struggling underwater homeowners. This money was intended for mortgage relief. States have instead been using the money to demolished blighted properties. Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio have decided instead of distributing money to homeowners headed for foreclosure that they would prefer to destroy homes abandoned by people who have already been kicked out of their houses. Other states are sure to follow suit.
 
A further insult to underwater homeowners is the expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. The law provided a tax exemption for mortgage debt forgiveness. The exemption expired on December 31, 2013. As it stands now any mortgage debt that is forgiven through a loan modification or short sell is treated as taxable income.
 
It is time to stand up and fight this insanity! We need to send message. The HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition is your opportunity to be heard. Tell the President, Congress, and other policy makers that enough is enough. We’ve been waiting too long for HARP 3.0. We need it now!
 
As a final note, don’t forget to support underwater homeowners that own small businesses. I recently wrote about Andrea Greene and the Connecticut Cookie Company. Eating cookies might not Make Harp 3.0 Happen, but they do taste yummy. So go buy some cookies.
 

The State Of The Union Address and HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition

HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock:

Failure of The Obama Administration, Congress, The FHFA, and Other Policy Makers To Implement HARP 3.0 Has Now Reached 2034 days 4 hours 43 minutes 48 seconds

Please click here to sign the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock Petition

The President forgot about us. The 2014 State of Union Address contained no mentions of underwater homeowners. Nothing about HARP or HARP 3.0 or #myrefi or a grand refinance plan for responsible homeowners. We have been abandoned. It is time to send a message. I want to put a HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock in the White House to remind policy makers how long they have failed us.

 
HARP 3.0 was essentially born when President Obama laid out his plan for a broad based refinancing plan to help responsible home owners with little or negative home equity during the 2012 State of The Union Address. It is now two years later and nothing has been accomplished. I’m taking a suggestion from one of my readers and highlighting this failure of our policy makers by placing a HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock on the website. The clock is being set at January 24, 2012, the night of the 2012 State of The Union Address and the birth of the HARP 3.0 movement. The HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock is a symbol of how long the President, Congress, The FHFA, and even the media have failed us. I’ve also created a new petition requesting the administration install a HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock in the White House to remind our policy makers how badly they have failed the millions of Americans that are still underwater on their mortgages. Please go to http://wh.gov/lNIIm and sign the petition. The White House is owned by the American people, and if we want to put a clock in there we should be able to. Hopefully the mere sight of the HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock embarrasses our government leaders into taking some real action.

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Help Underwater Homeowners. Install a CountUp Clock in the White House to remind policy makers of failure to pass HARP 3


During the 2012 State of The Union Address President Obama laid out his plan for a broad based refinancing plan to help all responsible home owners with little or negative home equity. This plan, known as HARP 3.0, is desperately needed by millions of underwater homeowners. It is now two years later and nothing has been accomplished with HARP 3.0. The President, Congress, The FHFA, and other policy makers have failed us. As a reminder of this failure we suggest a HARP 3.0 Count Up Clock be installed in the White House Entrance Hall. Perhaps the embarrassment of this Count Up Clock will urge policy makers to finally Make Harp 3 Happen.

Senate Moves Closer to a Confirmation Vote for Mel Watt

Senate Democrats and the White House have made a renewed push to confirm Representative Mel Watt to take over the Directorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. A straight up or down vote by the Senate has been delayed for months as Democrats have failed gain enough support for a confirmation. On Monday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the procedural steps needed to bring the vote to the Senate floor later this week. 60 votes are required for confirmation but Democrats only hold 55 votes. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is the sole Republican to endorse Mr. Watt. Advisers for the White House have been meeting with noted real estate and finance professionals to gain industry endorsements to pressure Republicans into confirming the selection. If Mr. Watt is confirmed he will take over for Acting Director Ed DeMarco. DeMarco has repeatedly denied requests to make regulatory changes to aid underwater homeowners. To voice your support of Mel Watt’s confirmation call 866-200-6444 and urge your Senator to vote yes to confirm Mel Watt as Director of the FHFA.

Petition to Implement Merkley Mortgage in all States with Allocated Hardest Hit Funds

I keep getting asked if I will start a new petition. Well, here it is.

http://www.change.org/petitions/u-s-treasury-and-state-housing-agencies-that-disperse-hardest-hit-funds-help-underwater-homeowners-by-implementing-the-merkley-mortgage

I can’t put nearly the effort in this one as I did the last. So it is up to all of you to make this happen. Here are the details:

U.S. Treasury and State Housing Agencies that disperse Hardest Hit Funds: Help Underwater Homeowners by Implementing the Merkley Mortgage

Refinancing can save thousands of dollars per month and prevent foreclosures for families underwater on their home loans. Millions of Americans are underwater and are unfortunately not eligible for existing programs such as HARP. The Rebuilding American Homeownership Assistance Pilot Project (aka. The Merkley Mortgage) expands on HARP by allowing people with non-Fannie and Freddie held loans to refinance. It would also allow refinancing for people that have been disqualified due to the arbitrary securitization cut-off date set by the FHFA.

And this is the letter/email that will be delivered:

To:
The President of the United States
The U.S. Senate
Your Governor
Sen. Jeff Merkley, OR
U.S. Treasury
Florida Housing Finance Corporation
Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority
alabama housing finance authority
Arizona Department of Housing
California Housing Finance Agency
Georgia Housing and Finance Authority
Illinois Housing Development Authority
Kentucky Housing Corporation
Michigan State Housing Development Authority
Mississippi Home Corporation
Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services
South Carolina State Housing and Development Authority
Tennessee Housing Development Agency
District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency

Millions of underwater homeowners stand to benefit by refinancing. Unfortunately, many are not eligible for the current programs such as HARP. Senator Merkley of Oregon has advanced the Rebuilding American Homeownership (RAH) plan using the U.S. Treasury TARP “Hardest Hit Funds” to serve as a more inclusive underwater refinance plan. The Merkley plan would equally benefit those with GSE backed loans and non-Fannie and non-Freddie backed loans . The plan is currently being piloted in Oregon’s Multnomah County. The RAH Pilot Program could serve as the template for assisting underwater homeowners in need of refinancing in your state. Please implement RAH using your allocated “Hardest Hit Funds”.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

2013 State of the Union Address and the #DumpDeMarco Initiative

Tonight President Obama will deliver the 2013 State of the Union Address. The economy is expected to once again be a main focus of this year’s address, however it is unclear if housing policy will be a prominent topic like last year. During the 2012 State of the Union Address President Obama pushed for a broad home refinance initiative aimed at aiding underwater homeowners. That laid the groundwork for the #myrefi HARP 3.0 initiative. Due to partisanship politics in Congress and amongst policy makers at the FHFA HARP 3.0 has yet to become a reality. The President may or may not emphasize housing policy during the 2013 State of the Union Address, however the 12 million underwater homeowners in the U.S. can still use this opportunity to raise the priority on this issue via social media. Tracy Van Slyke of the New Bottom Line has been organizing a movement that calls for President Obama to fire FHFA director Ed DeMarco within the first 100 days of his second term as president. Tracy is using the opportunity to make hashtag #DumpDeMarco trend on twitter during the State of the Union Address. You can join this effort by tweeting the following message at the start of the address:

Who is the roadblock to economic progress? Meet the Bush appointee that works for Obama. http://dumpdemarconow.com #DUMPDeMarco #SOTU

To make the effort even easier Tracy has set up a Thunderclap project to time the tweets to occur at the exact same moment for maximum effect. Simply register for the #DumpDemarco Thunderclap and your voice can be heard during the State of the Union Address. Here is the link to join the effort:
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/1254-now-is-the-time-dumpdemarco

White House Petition to Eliminate HARP Cutoff Date – The Final Push

The White House petition to eliminate the HARP cutoff date and allow re-HARPing has just one week left before it closes. It does not appear it will reach the goal of 25,000 signatures that were required to elicit a response from the White House. It will take major media attention to get there, and thus far our little petition has been ignored by the media. However, I urge you all to continue to sign the petition and recruit others to sign it as well. Occasionally the White House does issue responses to petitions that do not reach the specified threshold. There are obviously low level staffers that monitor the petition site, and the greater the signature totals the more likely it is that the petition will be escalated to the senior staffers in the Administration. The fact is that although we are far short of 25,000 signatures, the petition has been building steam due to a strong word of mouth effort. Our petition has gotten 10% more signatures this week than last. Generally, without media attention these petitions taper off dramatically after the first few days they become public. They get buried at the bottom of the listings on the White House site and no one can find them without specifically knowing what to look for. I’ve been monitoring all of the current petitions (yeah, I’m kind of a geek like that) and no current petition within two weeks of closing has experienced a growth in signature rates from the prior week. People are increasingly finding the petition and signing it because the word of mouth is strong. In addition, website traffic to makeharp3happen.com is exploding. This site has ben online for less than three weeks but has already grown to more than 500 unique site visitors a day, most of which are attributed to search traffic. Yesterday, Google searches alone brought more 300 visitors the site. Although the petition is about to end, the grassroots movement to expand HARP has only just begun. So please tell your friends, family, and colleagues to sign the petition.http://wh.gov/PQOH. Don’t forget to spread the work on twitter, facebook, Google+, or any other social networks you participate in. And finally, please join the Make HARP 3.0 Happen mailing list so I can engage you and keep you informed on any future grassroots initiatives that I plan to launch.

Get the scoop on what’s next for Make Harp 3.0 Happen by joining our email list.
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Website Updates and New Email List

I have made a number of updates to the website the last few days that should help raise the profile for the Make Harp 3.0 Happen movement. First, a new WordPress theme has been installed which should make the site easier to navigate. I also installed a mobile theme, so now finding your way around the site on a smartphone should be just as easy as using the desktop version of the site. I’ve also created a new email list to help mobilize support for future efforts. I urge you all to join. What I’ve learned from the petition is it takes a lot of work to get the message out. More than 1100 have signed the petition thus far and that has come almost solely from word of mouth. It is very difficult to get the media to cover the story. A large early response would have been helpful. I wasn’t really expecting this to become what it has. I created the petition to vent some frustration. It grew into this movement as I found many others just as frustrated. I want to rally support for future efforts much earlier. Building a base of contacts is critical to that. So please join the mailing list.

 

Get the scoop on what’s next for Make Harp 3.0 Happen by joining our email list.
Email:
Name:
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