With foreclosures continuing to endanger America's economic recovery, today Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-19) put forward an alternative to Republican legislation abolishing a critical mortgage modification program. The bill passed today by the GOP majority eliminates help for "underwater" families seeking to refinance their homes. While Democrats and Republicans agree the program needs improvements, Congressman Deutch's legislation would have preserved refinancing options for retirees and kept the door open to reforming the programs for the future.
Recently, economist Mark Zandi cited the foreclosure crisis as the "number one reason for nervous about the economy in the next six to nine months." With Florida's economy heavily reliant on construction and housing development, stabilizing these industries is vital to growing the private sector. Florida continues to outpace the nation in foreclosure filings, and nearly half of Floridians owe more to banks than their homes are worth. The three counties suffering the highest percentage of foreclosures -- Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade - are also home to Florida's largest population of retirees.
"Seniors deserve the chance to live out the remainder of their retirement years with four walls around them and a roof over their heads," said Congressman Deutch. "Unfortunately, throughout the financial crisis and this devastating recession, seniors have often gone forgotten. For many, their pensions have dried up or come under attack. Their lifesavings were decimated by recklessness on Wall Street. They have not received a Social Security cost of living increase for two years. Their homes, often their last standing pillar of equity and economic security, have lost value through no fault of their own. We can and we should improve our mortgage modification programs, and we should start by preserving them for elderly Americans."