Policy Advocacy

Committing Thoughts to Paper

Investigations »

One important part of the HERA organization is writing/presenting/publishing/filing letters and papers etc etc. Here is a sampling of our work.

Student Loan Advocacy

HERA drafts and submits comments to Department of Education on proposed student loan debt discharge rules, joined by other advocates across the country.

Comments on Borrower Defenses Against Loan Repayment: read »

PROPOSED: Application for Defense to Repayment (DTR): read »

PROPOSED: Application for Defense to Repayment (DTR): read » | Google form »

Widows and Orphans

HERA has worked for years to bring protections to surviving loved ones who are already owners of the family home or inheriting the family home. Homeownership remains the primary wealth building tool for most Americans, and protection of the family home is paramount to keeping households stable, and healthy. Moreover, the family home is a financial base that can help support the next generation's dreams of college.

Mortgage servicers are foreclosing on surviving homeowners all over California just because they are not already listed on the mortgage loan. In other words, if you were not already on that home loan with your loved one, there's a good chance that the mortgage servicer will simply foreclose on you instead of talking to you about assuming the mortgage loan.

It's a travesty.

HERA, in partnership with California Reinvestment Coalition and the California Alliance of Retired Americans, is sponsoring a California bill that would protect surviving family members from this mistreatment. Find out more at www.survivorbillofrights.org.

RE: Widows and orphans, joint tenants and loan modification challenges

This letter provides further context regarding the problems facing heirs striving to retain their homes when those homes are still encumbered by a mortgage that the heir is not a party to. The most common scenario involves when Husband and Wife are both on the title to their home, but only Husband's name is on the loan. When Husband dies, Wife cannot afford payments and seeks a loan modification.
read »

Housing Bubble

RE: Need for immediate federal intervention to mitigate the harmful impacts on local communities of investor purchases of REOs and distressed loans, and to stave off the next financial crisis

This letter is sent on behalf of the undersigned organizations concerning a serious and still growing problem – the creation of another housing bubble, the displacement of tenant and homeowner households, and the destabilization of neighborhoods as a result of failed and negligent federal policies. Such policies and inaction have enabled Wall Street and other cash investors to outbid first time homebuyers, displace tenants, and alter the fabric of local communities.
read »

Debt Collection


Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) applauds the CFPB's undertaking this information gathering process as to the critically important subject area of debt collection practices. Read HERA's comments on a number of questions posed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
read »

Reverse Mortgages

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), on behalf of its low-income clients, and the signed-on advocacy groups and direct services providers who represent low-income homeowners seeking to protect their homes, are writing to the Assistant Secretary for Housing/ FHA Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) urging them to address significant problems with the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program.

The goal being to prevent avoidable foreclosures on elderly borrowers and their non-borrowing spouses. If HUD is to best preserve the HECM program as a tool to allow older adults to age in place, with stable and affordable housing, it must undertake significant reforms with respect to reverse mortgage servicing. The recommendations below relate to problems with the Mortgagee Optional Election (MOE) assignment program, HUD's extremely limited loss mitigation options for HECM borrowers in default on property charges, ineffective communication in the servicing of HECM loans, and concerns about current origination rules including the Financial Assessment.
read »