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March 16, 2011

Velázquez on Neighborhood Stabilization Program Termination Act


Washington, DC –Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding legislation that would terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Below are her remarks.

"I rise today to speak in opposition to H.R. 861. This legislation would terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which helps communities cope with the problem of abandoned and foreclosed properties. The NSP will help rehabilitate over 600 properties in New York City alone, but this is not just an issue for New York. This is a national problem. It was created by a decade of overheated mortgage lending and excess on Wall Street. It makes sense that our cities should have a national response. But contrary to common sense, the bill we consider today would abandon our cities and towns and force them to deal with this issue on their own.

"The foreclosure crisis has a ripple effect on our whole economy. Foreclosed and abandoned homes consume limited city resources. At the same time, these homes lower property values for everyone in their neighborhood. Assistance from the NSP can not only rehabilitate empty homes, it can also reverse the downward spiral in property values. This bill eliminates the only housing mitigation program committed to stemming these ripple effects. Foreclosures are costly to everyone. Without the NSP, Main Street will bear the costs of a problem created on Wall Street.

"Nationwide nearly 100,000 projects will be undertaken with NSP funds. Property values will be restored in these neighborhoods, and working families will once again have access to affordable housing. Yet, if this legislation is enacted, 200 projects in New York City will go unfinished. Withdrawing support for the NSP at this stage will slow the budding recovery in our housing sector – not just for New York City, but also for cities and towns across America. Clearly this is a step in the wrong direction.

"I urge a NO vote on this ill-conceived legislation. I yield back the balance of my time."