Housing market crisis assistance offered
August 20, 2009
- In February, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contains funding of $555 million.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has two programs to help homeowners.
- Since 1966, HAP has assisted servicemembers and civilian employees whose home values dropped because of BRAC announcements.
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Persistent stateside economic problems are hammering the U.S. real-estate market. And many people within the Army community - troops and their families, along with civilian employees -are finding themselves unable to make monthly payments, rent homes or have loans where the appraised value of the house is less than the mortgage.
In a recent memo to senior leadership, Lt. Gen. Robert Wilson, commander of Installation Management Command, wrote: "The current housing situation continues to affect Soldiers who have purchased homes; those living in rentals; and (those making) government-directed moves for permanent change of station and Base Realignment and Closure relocations."
Consequently, various federal organizations, including the Department of Defense, and private sector agencies, "are aggressively working programs to provide help, information and support during these challenging times," Wilson stated.
In fact, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has two such programs to assist people, including those affiliated with the military: the Homeowner's Assistance Program and the Making Home Affordable Program.
HAP is a DoD initiative with the Army as the executive agent and operated by the Corps of Engineers. Since 1966, HAP has assisted servicemembers and civilian employees whose home values dropped because of BRAC announcements.
In February, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contains funding of $555 million. Additionally, ARRA authorizes the expansion of HAP to three homeowner groups to provide them partial reimbursement for home-sale losses. The groups are:
Warriors in Transition: Wounded servicemembers relocating for treatment or medical retirement, and for surviving family members of those who have died while on deployment.
BRAC05: Military and DoD civilian employees impacted by BRAC - without the need to prove whether the base closure or then general housing market decline caused the loss.
PCS: Normal permanent change of station moves, but only on a retroactive basis that covers PCS moves that occurred from July 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2009.
"We are in the middle of a credit crunch and housing crisis, and we recognize that military families cannot generally choose when to move," said Vice President Joe Biden during a May 14 speech in San Diego, Calif. "We've used the Recovery Act to dramatically expand what once a fairly small program, assisting families forced to relocate due to base closures or normal assignment rotations."
The other initiative boosted by the Recovery Act, the Making Home Affordable Program, might fill the gap for people who are affiliated with the military but are not eligible or do not qualify for HAP. MHAP helps homeowners with refinancing.
For more information on specific program criteria or to apply online if eligible, visit http://www.myarmyonesource.com/SoldierandFamilyHousing/ for links to HAP and MHAP.
(Additional information from American Forces Press Service)