One of the sharpest lines of attack against the Obama Administration’s response to the financial crisis is that they over-prioritized saving banks instead of keeping the housing market from collapsing — more than half of the qualified 1.6 million people who originally took advantage of its 2009 housing assistance program have already dropped out — and it looks like they are finally trying to publicly make clear that they need to address the problem.
On Wednesday, President Obama admitted that he “needed to go back to the drawing board” to better deal with the ongoing foreclosure crisis, and so on Thursday he took a first step in making good on that promise. Starting next month, unemployed homeowners will be allowed to miss their monthly mortgage payments for a year. The guarantee by the Federal Housing Administration won’t apply to more than a quarter of existing to mortgages, but the hope is that the move will get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the two government entities that back 90% of all mortgages — to take it easier on people struggling to make their payments.
“Our hope is that this will have broader effects,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan during a conference call, according to the AP.