| WASHINGTON, June 26
WASHINGTON, June 26 The Obama administration on
Thursday said it would tap Treasury funds to bolster the
construction of affordable rental housing and extend the life of
a program aimed at helping struggling homeowners avoid
The announcement by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was timed
to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Making Home
Affordable program, an Obama administration initiative launched
at the height of the economic crisis to revitalize the housing
He said the program would be extended for at least another
year. "We need to continue to be there for homeowners who are
facing foreclosure, those who are struggling with increasing
interest rates on their modified mortgages, and those whose
homes are caught underwater," Lew said in remarks prepared for
delivery at an event to mark the program's anniversary.
Lew also said the administration would use money from the
Treasury Department's Federal Financing Bank to help housing
finance agencies fund the construction of more affordable rental
The collapse of the housing market created a spike in demand
for rental housing, which has driven costs up. Many Americans
are renting either because they lost their homes, are afraid to
buy a home or cannot access mortgage credit.
Lew said the administration was looking for ways to attract
more private capital to the housing market, which is dominated
by government-controlled mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac.
"I have directed my team to bring investors and securitizers
together in the months ahead so we can uncover new paths to
increase private investment," he said.
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Paul Simao)