US President Barack Obama said Wednesday he hopes to keep between seven and nine million homeowners out of foreclosure, using $75 billion to stabilize a housing crisis that is at the heart of the country's deepening recession.
Obama unveiled plans offering aid to homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages, to relax rules on mortgage refinancing and to help neighbourhoods raise property values by renovating already foreclosed properties.
The new measures are designed to stem a record rate of foreclosures - more than three million in 2008 - that undermined housing prices, cost banks hundreds of billions of dollars and brought the availability of new credit in the US economy to a halt.
"In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis. And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen," Obama said in prepared remarks released by the White House, ahead of a planned speech on the crisis in Phoenix, Arizona.
Obama's home foreclosure support is the latest component of the incoming administration's plan to address what could be the most serious recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Obama signed a record $787-billion economic stimulus package on Tuesday. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner introduced a plan last week to address the financial crisis, promising to inject as much as $2 trillion in public and private financing into banks to keep them alive.