Members of Congress Urge HUD to Allow HECMs for Co-ops

A letter signed by eight members of Congress that urges the Department of Housing and Urban Development to allow co-ops under the HECM program has circulated among policymakers. Addressed to Housing Secretary Shawn Donovan, the letter stresses the high number of co-ops in the United States and the disadvantage seniors face by living in them and not being able to qualify for a HEMC loan.

“With over one million housing cooperative units in the United States today, thousands of these home owners are impacted by not being able to access HECMs,” the letter states.

In particular, New York residents who live in co-ops comprise a substantial portion of this population.

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“If done well, reverse mortgages have the potential to help older consumers, especially those who own co-ops in NYC,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), one of the signing members of Congress. “Often these seniors’ homes are their  largest asset. By freeing up the equity in those homes, seniors can remain in their homes and live comfortably.”

Further, the letter underscores the importance of the HECM program at this point in time, as many seniors find themselves struggling financially.

“In today’s housing market, your assistance in removing HECMs from the ‘back burner’—would be invaluable to the economic and physical health of older Americans struggling to stay afloat in this economy,” the letter states. “…we urge you to issue home equity conversion guidelines, giving our seniors who own shares in housing cooperatives the same opportunity to access HECMs as all other home owners.”

The latest from HUD on the HECM program and co-ops was a statement from a HUD spokesman in late 2010 which noted the department was evaluating the HECM program for co-ops to determine if it would meet HUD’s financial requirements.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • You mean there were only eight.  You would think that after all of the comments on RMD from just the co-op group in Laguna Woods, CA, senior co-op owners could have rustled up more than EIGHT.  This shows how ineffective their efforts have been.
     
    If this is the best that the co-op owners can do, do not expect much change from HUD.  If the number was closer to ninety, HUD might want to listen but eight, just EIGHT – this says not even senior co-op owners are all that serious in the HECM program.  
     
    If since passage of HERA just two co-op owners had each contacted just one senior who owned a co-op and was unaware about the situation on HECMs the first month and then those four who knew about the situation all did the same the following month and then the eight did the same following month and on and on for just 35 months, over 34 billion (yes, billion) senior co-op owners would know about HERA and HECMs in that time.  But if just two of you did what is presented in the prior paragraph weekly rather than monthly, in just 20 weeks you have the possibility of reaching 1,000,000. 
     
    It seems not many co-op owners are all that interested in seeing HUD get off the dime, just a noisy few.  The voice of over 1,000,000 co-op owners would do a lot in Congress.  What a shame!!  This program could help so many.  Here in California, most co-op owners could use this product as is no doubt true in NY, NJ, CT, and many other states.  We have several co-op manufactured home developments here in CA which this program could also help.  [The individuals own the individual manufactured home units but the land is owned by the co-op.] 
     
    Co-op owners, you need to rise up and get the attention of far more than eight members of Congress.  It may take an effort but it can be done inexpensively and at a grass roots level.  I wish you the best. 
     
    [Elizabeth, it is interesting you identify Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) as one of “eight congressmen.”  I thought we were over such sexist categorizations.]

  • Rep. Ed Towns of New York wrote the letter to Shaun Donovan and he is the one who got 8 congressman to sign on it, I thought he would have gotten more signatures.  The co-op owners of Laguna Woods signed petitions to present to our congressman John Campbell to  give to Shaun Donovan a year ago. We wrote letters then, it did not do any good.  We have been told from HUD in July 2008 that “it was coming soon” and it is 3 years later and still waiting.  I am one of the seniors greatly impacted by the inability to access my equity..our reps in Washington and Peter Bell of NRMLA have lobbied for us.  Why cant they fine HUD for non compliance of the HERA Bill that was signed into law in July, 2008?  Why should we seniors be punished for their lack of concern as we struggle to survive in this economy? 

  • Rep. Ed Towns of New York wrote the letter to Shaun Donovan and he is the one who got 8 congressman to sign on it, I thought he would have gotten more signatures.  The co-op owners of Laguna Woods signed petitions to present to our congressman John Campbell to  give to Shaun Donovan a year ago. We wrote letters then, it did not do any good.  We have been told from HUD in July 2008 that “it was coming soon” and it is 3 years later and still waiting.  I am one of the seniors greatly impacted by the inability to access my equity..our reps in Washington and Peter Bell of NRMLA have lobbied for us.  Why cant they fine HUD for non compliance of the HERA Bill that was signed into law in July, 2008?  Why should we seniors be punished for their lack of concern as we struggle to survive in this economy? 

  • Rep. Ed Towns of New York wrote the letter to Shaun Donovan and he is the one who got 8 congressman to sign on it, I thought he would have gotten more signatures.  The co-op owners of Laguna Woods signed petitions to present to our congressman John Campbell to  give to Shaun Donovan a year ago. We wrote letters then, it did not do any good.  We have been told from HUD in July 2008 that “it was coming soon” and it is 3 years later and still waiting.  I am one of the seniors greatly impacted by the inability to access my equity..our reps in Washington and Peter Bell of NRMLA have lobbied for us.  Why cant they fine HUD for non compliance of the HERA Bill that was signed into law in July, 2008?  Why should we seniors be punished for their lack of concern as we struggle to survive in this economy? 

  •  Dear “Critic”
    You really are a cynic.  I am in contact with a very good source in Washington who is trying to lobby for co-op owners–in my opinion that is better than a “grass roots” campaign.  It is frustrating to so many seniors that we can not access the equity we have in our homes and are being forced to sell in this down  market and take a substantial loss.  If you have some valid suggestions as to what we can do to lobby harder to get some results, put your money where your mouth is and pass it on to me so I can give them to my source in washington who is planning on a meeting with HUD officials.  We need help not criticism. 

    • akoolkat2,

      Elected officials fear a sea of white and gray hair far more than a few well paid mouth pieces. 

      Lobbyists can help but boots on the ground are far more effective.  But if you will not listen, you will not listen. 

      So many beg for money but few will do the work which is needed.  I just think you are wasting time and now MONEY. 

      RMD readers are very sympathetic to your situation but “God helps….” 

    • akoolkat2,

      Elected officials fear a sea of white and gray hair far more than a few well paid mouth pieces. 

      Lobbyists can help but boots on the ground are far more effective.  But if you will not listen, you will not listen. 

      So many beg for money but few will do the work which is needed.  I just think you are wasting time and now MONEY. 

      RMD readers are very sympathetic to your situation but “God helps….” 

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