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Fed Foreclosure Help By May: Is It In Time? | Housing

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Fed Foreclosure Help By May: Is It In Time?

LAS VEGAS -- President Barack Obama announced federal foreclosure help is coming to Nevada during his visit to Las Vegas last month. But will it arrive in time to save Nevada families already in risk of losing their homes?

Darrell and Maria McCracken live in a tight-knit community. The Henderson neighborhood on Riddle Glen Street is bound together by a common problem: 70-percent of Nevada's homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. Many aren't qualifying for government- sponsored bank programs to refinance.

"We can't walk away right now. We're going to stay. We've taken our shot with the modification. It's been seven months we've been back and forth with them," says Darrell McCracken.

The McCrackens work as casino dealers. They've seen deep cuts in their paychecks this past year.

"We have a lot of money tied up in the house and we have an elderly mother. I don't want to move her. She had open heart surgery two years ago. She's 83. I don't want to move her," said Maria McCracken.

Nevada's housing division announced Friday they expect sizable federal foreclosure help to arrive in May. The McCrackens were there, as they saw the numbers showing their homes are back to 2002 values, and not likely to go up much in the next several years.

Congresswoman Dina Titus acknowledges previous efforts have failed to tackle the long- term problem, "Just throwing money at the problem won't solve it. Just a voucher or a bridge loan may get you through a couple of months, but it doesn't bring down the cost of the loan which is going to see you through the long term."

The McCrackens say a 3-percent home mortgage would rescue them. But, with bank difficulties and government plans that have so far been only a band-aid, they're not certain what the future will hold for them.

There is one date every homeowner should mark on their calendar: March 31, 2010. That's when the Federal Reserve stops buying mortgage backed securities. That's been keeping mortgage rates down. When that goes away, people's mortgage rates could go up a point or more. It's a matter of wait and see