Hampered by HAMP?

The U.S. Treasury is hampered by HAMP.

A report released today from the Congressional Oversight Panel says the Treasury is still struggling to get the $50 billion Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, off the ground.

So far, around 230,000 households have been given permanent reductions in loan payments as of the end of March, according to the Wall Street Journal. That is up from 168,703 in February.

But nearly eight million households are behind on mortgage payments, or already in the throes of foreclosure.

The oversight panel says in the report: "Treasury's response continues to lag well behind the pace of the crisis" and that, even when HAMP is fully operational, they "will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble." The report questions the timeliness, sustainability, and accountability of Treasury's foreclosure programs.

The panel says HAMP could delay or prevent up to 1.2 million foreclosures, at least temporarily. But HAMP is just a delay to mortgage problems, not a solution. Households who take advantage of HAMP must devote a whopping 59 percent of their total income to debt service, not very sustainable to the average family.