Obama to announce $1.5 bln for state housing help

LAS VEGAS, Feb 19 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama will
use a campaign stop for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on
Friday to announce a new initiative to help support homeowners
in five states hit hardest by the U.S. housing crisis.

An administration official said Obama would announce he is
designating $1.5 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program
to fund programs at local Housing Finance Agencies in
California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and Michigan.

Those states have seen declines in their housing markets of
20 percent or more from their peaks, the official said.

“We are extremely cognizant of just how difficult the
housing situation remains,” the official told a conference call
with reporters.

“But (we are) very relieved that we are in a dramatically
different place today where we have very significant
stabilization in prices across most of the country.”

Nevada is still struggling from the nation’s housing
troubles, and Obama’s choice to make the announcement there was
no coincidence.

The president is trying to boost the political prospects of
Reid, a Nevada Democrat who is trailing potential Republican
opponents by double digits in opinion polls ahead of November
elections that could change the balance of power in Congress.

The administration official acknowledged that $1.5 billion
was a small number compared to the scope of the problem.

The funding would be distributed to the state agencies
based on which states were suffering the most and could go to
programs to help unemployed homeowners, for example, or
borrowers who owe more on their houses than they are worth


(Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by Anthony Boadle)

Obama to announce $1.5 bln for state housing help