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La Raza To Congress: Strengthen Latino Homeownership To Boost National Economy

 

 

 

 

Washington, DC-In a testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today called on Congress and the administration to strengthen the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to stabilize the housing market and bolster the nation's weak economy.

"NCLR is deeply concerned about the lack of progress in restoring stability and ownership opportunity to the housing market," said Janis Bowdler, Deputy Director of NCLR's Wealth-Building Policy Project during the hearing. "Not only are Latino families losing their homes at record rates, many that should be able to take advantage of the newly affordable home prices are unable to access credit."

NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía later stated, "Our families continue to be hit hard by foreclosures and unemployment. We know that working families will not recover until jobs return to their neighborhood and the housing market is stable."

With more than 700,000 Latino and Black homeowners expected to lose their homes to foreclosure this year alone, FHA cannot allow for the bleak economic climate to sidetrack its mission to provide credit in underserved communities. The financial crisis demands that hardest-hit communities receive access to credit, helping to stabilize the housing market and, in turn, boost the economy.

NCLR provided the following recommendations in its testimony to strengthen the FHA program, restore homeownership opportunities, and protect homeowners and taxpayers:

  • FHA lenders must abide by a code of ethics coupled with strong oversight and accountability mechanisms. Those that violate the code should be subject to strong penalties, including losing the privilege of originating government-backed loans.
  • Borrowers should receive incentives, such as a premium discount, for participating in pre-purchase housing counseling with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved agency.
  • All FHA borrowers should have access to loss mitigation. Servicers must demonstrate that borrowers were ineligible for any of FHA's foreclosure prevention programs before filing a claim. If not, the foreclosure should be reversed and the servicer should be subject to severe consequences.

For more information, visit www.nclr.org | http://www.facebook.com/nationalcounciloflaraza | http://www.myspace.com/nclr2008 | http://twitter.com/nclr.

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