Last year, the Madison-based Capital Times reported the trials of Heather Franz, a Lodi-area homeowner who was trying to take advantage of a government program to modify her home mortgage.
… Franz quickly discovered it wasn’t easy. She spent hours on the telephone just trying to find someone who could answer questions. There were misplaced forms, endless delays and conflicting stories from talking to different loan servicing agents.
… “At the end of the day I suppose it was a success story although I still feel I paid a big price for it,” says Franz, who grew so stressed during the ordeal she needed extensive dental work to repair two front teeth damaged from grinding them in her sleep.
The program she tapped into was the Home Affordable Mortgage Program or HAMP, unveiled in 2009 with fanfare and $75 billion from the TARP to prevent foreclosures. At this point, millions are behind on their mortgages while some 550,000 have gotten loan mods through HAMP.
What we don’t know is who’s getting them.
New America Media reports that housing advocates and media organizations requested data on the demographic information of those receiving HAMP assistance more than a year ago through the Freedom of Information Act. Why: “According to [California housing advocate Mike] Stein, in much the same way that demographic information on lending has revealed racial disparities,” — Milwaukee tops the list of the worst areas for that — “the HAMP data could be used to ensure fair housing laws are not being violated,” writes Ngoc Nguyen.
The government has promised but not produced the data.
Add us to the list of those who’d be interested in seeing it reach daylight.
Some local data to chew on: In Wisconsin an estimated 29,940 foreclosures were filed last year. At least 4,737 Wisconsin homeowners in Wisconsin metro areas have gotten HAMP loan modifications. (That’s excluding the giant Minneapolis or Chicago census areas, which include parts of Wisconsin but are mostly in other states.)
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