[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/27/art.donovan.file3.gi.jpg caption =" Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan revealed to CNN Friday that the Obama administration plans next week to unveil two new initiatives to deal with the crumbling housing market."]Washington (CNN) - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan revealed to CNN Friday that the Obama administration plans next week to unveil two new initiatives to deal with the crumbling housing market, and he left the door open to also reviving the expired $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers that had been propping up the industry.
"We're going to be rolling out an FHA refinancing effort to help borrowers who are under water in their homes get above water," Donovan said in an exclusive interview taped for CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" on Sunday. "And second, we're launching an emergency homeowners' loan program for unemployed borrowers to be able to stay in their homes."
The swift action being pushed by President Obama's housing chief come in response to awful news in the housing industry this week, starting with Tuesday's revelation that existing home sales hit their lowest level in over a decade, declining by over 27 percent during the month.
Then on Wednesday, new home sales took a beating, falling to its lowest point since 1963, despite the fact that Donovan claimed in May that the housing market "has begun to turn the corner" and then said earlier this month that the market is in "significantly better shape than anyone predicted" last year.
"In July, we all expected home sales numbers to go down as a result of the end of the tax credit, but they were clearly worse than expected," Donovan acknowledged on Friday to CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry, filling in for Candy Crowley this Sunday.
Donovan was referring to the recent expiration of the tax credit for first-time home buyers, which analysts believe helped spark the sharp decline in home sales in July.
When pressed on whether the White House will now push for an extension of the tax credit, Donovan suggested the credit will not come back in the short-term but he left the door open to bringing it back down the road if the industry does not improve.
"I think it's too early to say, after one month of numbers, whether the tax credit will be revived or not," Donovan told CNN. "All I can tell you is that we are watching very carefully. I talked earlier about new tools that we will launch in the coming week, and we are going to be focused on where the housing market is moving going forward. And we're going to do everything we can to make sure that this market stabilizes and recovers."
The administration leaving the door open to the possibility of extending the popular tax credit is new, though some of the other initiatives mentioned by Donovan have been pushed by the administration previously. Back in March, the Treasury department announced adjustments to Federal Housing Administration programs in order to help struggling homeowners as part of the existing Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
There was $3 billion in emergency loans for the unemployed included in the recently passed Wall Street Regulatory Reform Bill. Though that money has gotten little attention so far and likely will be doled out in coming weeks as Donovan suggested.
Donovan was speaking from New Orleans, where he will be when the President tours part of the city and delivers a speech at Xavier University on Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He said that while a lot of progress has been made in rebuilding the city, there is still a lot of work to be done.
"This is the place - New Orleans and the Gulf Coast - where I think the American people witnessed a real loss of faith in their federal government," Donovan said. "I've been really moved by the spirit of the people in New Orleans and the Gulf, and their rebuilding and the optimism and progress that I've seen. More than 90 percent of the population is back in the New Orleans area, and there is still much ahead of us."
(Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET)