Getting Homeowners the Help they Need While Preventing Scams (Rep. Dina Titus)

On Wednesday, Congressman Dennis Cardoza of California and I introduced The Mortgage Assistance Information and Scam Prevention Act of 2009 to help struggling homeowners receive valuable information that could help them avoid foreclosure.  Over the past few months, this Congress and the Obama Administration have taken action to help families stay in their home during this economic recession.  Congress passed legislation to modify the Hope for Homeowners Program while the Administration implemented mortgage refinance and modification programs in an effort to stem the tide of foreclosures.

My district in Southern Nevada has been one of the hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.  To make matters worse, too many people do not know about the resources that are available to help them stay in their home.  Every day, my office hears from constituents who are at risk of losing their home and don’t know where to turn.  Recently I hosted a housing workshop which more than 300 people attended to find out more about the federal programs that could keep their dream of homeownership alive.  If the programs we have implemented are going to work, it is clear that more must be done to get the information out.

Our legislation requires all mortgage servicers who receive incentive payments under federal programs to notify each of their clients about the federal programs for which he or she may qualify and include instructions on how to receive assistance.  And with the number of scams on the rise, this would provide homeowners with reliable information about legitimate federal services, making them less likely to turn to fraudulent alternatives.

Reducing foreclosures and keeping Americans in their homes is a critical step to end this recession and turn our economy around.  Ensuring that homeowners know where to turn is an important step toward accomplishing that goal.