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When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 17, its provision of $555 million in a Homeowners Assistance Program for military members was touted as "very important to our military personnel and their families" by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo. The funds are intended to relieve a servicemember’s financial burden of a home no longer lived in, near a duty station no longer assigned to, and that he or she can no longer afford to pay for, due to a military-ordered relocation. Eight months later, the government is still very proud of its appropriation, but no one has received financial assistance.

Our active-duty family relocated from San Diego to Germany under permanent-change-of-station orders, issued five days after the economic stimulus bill was passed. In May, we left California and our basic allowance for housing at the San Diego duty station terminated. Our home is assessed at $156,000 less than we paid for it in May 2006. We listed it for sale in February 2009, four days after receiving the PCS orders. It remains unsold, and we have lost multiple buyers, because the lien holder will not accept less than the outstanding balance. We continue to make mortgage payments and slide deeper and deeper into personal debt because of military-ordered relocation and the lack of anticipated financial help from the Homeowners Assistance Program.

Based on all the available information disseminated by the Homeowners Assistance Program, our family is exactly whom the program is designed to help. As we slide toward foreclosure and watch our credit rating drop by hundreds of points, the government for whom we serve and sacrifice is holding onto $555 million specifically appropriated to help alleviate the hardship it imposed.

Tracy Moulton PetersonStuttgart, Germany


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