Congressman Introduces Bill to Fund Foreclosure Mediation Programs
By: Joy Leopold
Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) last week introduced a bill aiming to help prevent foreclosures across the country.
After the House passed measures to terminate federal foreclosure prevention programs, Cohen stepped in with a new measure to provide federal funding for foreclosure mediation programs.
Cohen’s office said the legislation passed by the House “harms homeowners.”
His bill would establish a grant program for state and local governments to provide mediation between home-
owners and lenders in order to pursue alternatives to foreclosure.
“Foreclosures evaporate middle class wealth,” said Congressman Cohen. “My bill would help families keep their homes and avoid the stress and difficulties of foreclosure.”
The Preventing Homeowners from Foreclosure Act of 2011 would create a grant program to help communities establish their own foreclosure mediation programs.
The mediation would postpone sheriff sales of owner-occupied residences until the homeowner has an opportunity to meet with a housing counselor and explore viable options to avert foreclosure.
Homeowners and lenders would have an opportunity to meet face-to-face before any foreclosure proceeded.
The program would also establish an outreach program to help raise homeowner awareness about the program. The bill would require any state that receives help from the grant program to keep a record of each mediation carried out, including the nature of any loan modification.
Cohen’s bill has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee for consideration.
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