Deciding Which Homeowners To Bail Out

The Feds have $1.5 billion to help homeowners at risk of losing homes to foreclosure. Deciding just which homeowners to help is no easy task. This article looks at the decision-making process in Arizona, one of the five states receiving federal aid.
March 24, 2010, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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In addition to describing the decision process, the article provides insight into why exurban communities were so prone to the foreclosure crisis, and the pain inflicted on the homeowners at risk of losing their homes.

"Two in five homeowners in this sprawling development 30 miles northeast of Phoenix are underwater on their mortgages. Arizona is one of five states that, with money from Washington, hopes to help at least some of these people hold on to their homes. Under a new, federally financed pilot program for the hardest-hit housing markets, state officials will decide who will get a homeowner bailout, and who will not."

But who decides whom to help? In AZ, that Solomonesque task lies with Michael Trailor, the director of the Arizona housing department.

''I feel for all of them,' Mr. Trailor said of the struggling homeowners. 'But we do not have the funds to help all of them. If we can help 6,000 people, which ones should we help?''

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 in The New York Times - Business
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