A long-rumored federal Handshakes for Homeowners program is expected to be unveiled today as an incentive for underwater homeowners who avoid mortgage default.

The program is expected to extend a hand, quite literally, to as many as 200,000 homeowners within the next 12-18 months.

A part of the Helping Hands and Hope for Hampered Homeowners (also known as 5H) initiative that launched in August 2008, the new program will reportedly be funded through a little-known grant account approved by Congress as a part of the sweeping health care reform legislation that passed on March 21.

A long-rumored federal Handshakes for Homeowners program is expected to be unveiled today as an incentive for underwater homeowners who avoid mortgage default.

The program is expected to extend a hand, quite literally, to as many as 200,000 homeowners within the next 12-18 months.

A part of the Helping Hands and Hope for Hampered Homeowners (also known as 5H) initiative that launched in August 2008, the new program will reportedly be funded through a little-known grant account approved by Congress as a part of the sweeping health care reform legislation that passed on March 21.

According to insiders, Handshakes for Homeowners will involve the creation of regional centers with a staff of "Handshake Helpers" who will be deployed to area neighborhoods based on need.

Staff will reportedly be trained to offer greetings, a certificate, and a sturdy handshake to select homeowners who continue to pay their mortgage on time. Those homeowners who have not missed a payment for the past five years will also allegedly be eligible for an "I pay my mortgage" T-shirt or a name-brand wristwatch etched with the slogan, "I pay on time."

Lenders will reportedly be incentivized to participate in the program with free offers of tickets to sporting events and concerts, though participation will be entirely voluntary.

"For too long we’ve been hearing from diligent homeowners who’ve asked, ‘Where’s my bailout?’ Well, now it’s time to give them a hand," said Harley Wurthett, the newly appointed administrator for the Treasury Department’s Division of Economic Recovery and Prevention of Future Downturns.

A spokesman for JP Wamerica, one of the financial companies that has pledged support for Handshakes for Homeowners, said, "We lend billions of dollars to homeowners each year. Lending a hand is comparatively cheap and represents far less risk."

The state of California, in conjunction with the federal announcement, today is expected to roll out HEMP (Helping Everyone Make Payments), a pilot program that would allow a group of distressed homeowners to make mortgage payments through profits from the legalized sale of marijuana.

Editor’s note: For further context on this report, please check your calendar. And note that all or portions of this article may be based entirely on anonymous and/or fictitious sources and erroneous information.

***

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
New January Connect speakers added: M. Ryan Gorman, Josh Team, Glenn Kelman and more.SEE THE SPEAKERS×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription