Office of the Homeowner Advocate
In order to help struggling homeowners obtain loan modifications to stay in their homes, the Treasury Department developed the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Unfortunately, for some homeowners, the administration of HAMP has been inconsistent and unsuccessful, leaving them unable to turn trial modifications into permanent ones-even when they made timely payments to banks.
Senator Franken introduced legislation to create an effective appeals process within the HAMP program. The Office of the Homeowner Advocate, modeled after the successful Office of the Taxpayer Advocate at IRS, would be empowered to:
- Assist homeowners, housing counselors, and housing lawyers in resolving problems with the HAMP program.
- Identify areas (both individual and systemic) where homeowners, housing counselors, and housing lawyers are having problems in dealing with the HAMP program.
- Offer possible administrative and legislative changes to HAMP.
Senator Franken's legislation was successfully added onto a tax-extenders bill on a vote of 63-33. While the underlying bill was never passed into law, Senator Franken is continuing to work to get the Office of the Homeowner Advocate through Congress and signed by the President into law in the near future.