The Obama Administration has extended its Making Home Affordable (MHA) program through December 2015. The action, taken Thursday brings that program into line with new expiration dates announced earlier for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Streamlined Modification Initiative for homeowners with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs).

MHA is run jointly by the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development. A number of foreclosure prevention programs operate under its aegis including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), 2MP second lien modification program, Principal Reduction Alternative Program (PRA) and Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. MHA programs were originally scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2013.

"The housing market is gaining steam, but many homeowners are still struggling," said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. "Helping responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure is part of our wide-ranging efforts to strengthen the middle class, and Making Home Affordable offers homeowners some of the deepest and most dependable assistance available to prevent foreclosure. Extending the program for two years will benefit many additional families while maintaining clear standards and accountability for an important part of the mortgage industry."

Since MHA was launched in March 2009, about 1.6 million actions have been taken through the program to provide relief to homeowners and nearly 1.3 million homeowners have been helped directly. As of March 2013, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification of their mortgage through HAMP, with a median savings of $546 every month - or 38 percent of their previous payment.

MHA has also put into place protections for homeowners that include requirements for mortgage servicers regarding clear and timely communications with homeowners and protections to ensure that homeowners are evaluated for assistance before being referred to foreclosure.

"The Making Home Affordable Program has provided help and hope to America's homeowners," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Families across the country have used its tools to reduce their principal, modify their mortgages, fight off foreclosure and stay in their homes - helping further stimulate our housing market recovery. And with this extension, we ensure that the program keeps supporting communities for years to come."

Freddie Mac spokesperson Tracy Mooney, Senior Vice President of Single Family Servicing and REO said of the extension, "Thanks to today's action by the Obama Administration, Freddie Mac will extend HAMP to financially troubled borrowers through 2015. We have helped more than 830,000 Freddie Mac borrowers avoid foreclosure since 2009 and nearly 230,000 of these families were helped through HAMP, which has played a critical role in the housing recovery now underway. We strongly encourage borrowers facing financial challenges to talk to their servicers about HAMP or Freddie Mac's standard mortgage modification."