By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter
LOS ANGELES — Activists have a pet name for Hope for Homeowners (H4H), the government initiative that’s supposed to help struggling mortgage holders keep their homes: they call it “hoho”.
“It’s a sad kind of humor, but it reflects a reality,” says Kathleen Day of the Center for Responsible Lending, a homeowners advocacy group. “We have yet to see a significant effect of these programs for most people.”
Many people across the country who are –or expect soon to be– unable to continue payments on their mortgages have placed their hopes on H4H, otherwise known as “the Obama plan”. Latinos have been experiencing foreclosures at a higher rate than the rest of the U.S. poulation, following a decade-long push to increase minority ownership. Figures released this week show that, instead of diminishing, foreclosures are rising quickly.
“I want to know, how much can my mortgage payment be reduced?” asks Norma Ochoa, a woman from Los Angeles that has been keeping up with her payments so far despite losing one of her two cleaning jobs.
Many, like Ochoa, are still waiting for an answer.
“The bank says they can not yet help me. That I need to wait,” she says, at the offices of a local organization that helps people negotiate with banks. “I don’t think I’m gonna be able to continue paying for long.”
RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure report, released Wednesday, shows that during the first quarter of this year, foreclosure filings increased 13% compared to the previous 3 months.