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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 

Congresswoman Velázquez: “Bush Administration Initiative Doesn’t Go Far Enough”

Comprehensive Solutions Needed to Address the Housing Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), New York City’s senior Member on the U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, today issued the following statement in response to the Bush Administration’s announcement of an initiative aimed at addressing the rising number of home foreclosures.

“For years, the President ignored warnings about the looming foreclosures crisis. His inactions left homeowners stranded and allowed the problem to grow into the crisis we have today. The New York housing market now stands to lose more than $9 billion in housing wealth in the next two years,” Congresswoman Velázquez said. “The President was asleep at the switch for years, yet his lifeline only lasts 30 days. This attempt at a quick fix falls way short of stemming the tide of foreclosures.”

Congresswoman Velázquez yesterday participated in a Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit field hearing at City Hall on the effects of the subprime mortgage crisis in New York City. In late January, she convened a roundtable of housing and finance experts to discuss viable short- and long-term solutions to the mortgage foreclosure crisis threatening New York City homeowners.

Possible legislative solutions being considered include the passage of a temporary bankruptcy fix to allow for the modification of home mortgage terms, boosting access to homeownership counseling and legal services, the expansion of financial literacy programs, and revamping the Community Reinvestment Act to level the playing field among mortgage players.

“This crisis requires more than lip service. While homeowners need a lifeline, those who benefited from this flawed system must be held accountable. Foreclosures crush the American dream of economic stability and success. Only by working together can we hope to reduce the effects on our local economy and protect New Yorkers’ valuable investments,” Congresswoman Velázquez said.