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Troubled Asset Relief Program: Status of Housing Programs

GAO-16-279R Published: Jan 08, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 08, 2016.
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What GAO Found

As of October 31, 2015, three Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) housing programs— Making Home Affordable (MHA), Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets (Hardest Hit Fund or HHF), and Federal Housing Administration’s Short Refinance Program (FHA Short Refinance)—remained active. Combined, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) had obligated $37.51 billion to these three programs. As of October 31, 2015, Treasury had disbursed $18.34 billion (49 percent). The amount and percentage of disbursements varied across these programs.

  • Treasury had disbursed $12.59 billion (42 percent) of the $29.78 billion in TARP funds allocated to MHA programs as of October 2015. Of the $17.19 billion remaining, Treasury had committed $9.53 billion to the payment of future financial incentives with respect to existing MHA transactions. As of September 2015, approximately 2.5 million homeowner assistance actions had taken place under MHA programs, according to Treasury.
  • Treasury had disbursed $5.73 billion (75 percent) of the $7.6 billion it had allocated to the 18 states and the District of Columbia under HHF as of October 2015. The program had assisted 241,775 households as of September 2015.
  • Treasury had disbursed $0.02 billion (15 percent) of the $0.13 billion it had currently allocated to the FHA Short Refinance program as of October 2015. FHA had insured 4,156 loans that could require Treasury to pay claims to lenders in the event these loans incur losses, as of September 2015.

Why GAO Did This Study

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 provided GAO with broad oversight authorities for actions taken under TARP and included a provision that GAO report at least every 60 days on TARP activities and performance.  As a result, GAO has continued to monitor and provide updates on TARP programs.  This 60-day report provides an update on the status of Treasury’s disbursements and participation for TARP housing programs that were active as of October 31, 2015. This included the

  • MHA, which includes several programs intended to encourage the modification of eligible mortgages and provide other relief to distressed borrowers;
  • HHF, which supports innovative measures developed by state housing finance agencies and approved by Treasury to help borrowers in states hit hardest by the aftermath of the housing crisis; and
  • FHA Short Refinance, which provides underwater borrowers—those with properties that are worth less than the principal remaining on their mortgage—whose loans are current and are not insured by FHA with the opportunity to refinance into an FHA-insured mortgage.


GAO is not making any recommendations in this report.

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