Editor's Note: Inman News is pleased to introduce "House Keys," a new weekly column about homeownership by veteran real estate writer Marcie Geffner. "House Keys" offers a fresh look at today's changing images and perceptions of homeownership through current news events and personal stories. For information about publishing this column on your Web site or in print, contact Elaine Baker: (510) 658-9252 ext. 128. The U.S. government has started several programs to help homeowners escape burdensome mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. But so far, these programs have amounted to little more than false hopes. Programs with catchy names like "Hope for Homeowners" were announced with much fanfare and great promise. In effect, these programs meant that we, the U.S. taxpayers, held out the hope of mortgage relief to our neighbors, both nearby and far afield. We gave them hopes of "staying in their homes," as government officials so often...
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