U.S. CONGRESSMANALAN LOWENTHALServing California's 47th District

Housing

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Housing



"Congress has a responsibility to ensure access to safe and affordable housing for all Americans."


Since 2008, American families have experienced record high default and foreclosure rates due, in part, to predatory, unscrupulous lending practices and the job losses that were a result of the Great Recession. The fact is that millions of working families in America devote too much of their income to pay for their housing; and, such high housing costs limit the ability of many families to cover other basic needs like healthcare, gasoline, and groceries.

Unfortunately, for many families across America, the threat of foreclosures still remains a critical concern. While I am glad to see housing values begin to rise, it is still true that tens of millions of homeowners have also seen the value of their homes—their primary investment—drop in value. Regrettably, California stands on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis and has endured some of the worst effects of the downturn in our housing sector.

Refinance Assistance

In 2009, President Obama initiated the Making Home Affordable Program (HAMP) to assist borrowers to refinance into a more affordable mortgage, get a loan modification to make monthly payments more affordable, or help individuals transition to more affordable housing. While this program was necessary, it can be strengthened; and, Congress should also remain committed to the success of the program and the assistance such a program can provide to struggling families. For more information on these programs, click here.

Foreclosure Accountability

I am also very pleased that the Federal government and 49 state attorneys general, including California’s Kamala Harris, reached a global settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers for irregularities in the foreclosure process that violated the law. The historic settlement gave as much as $26 billion in relief to distressed borrowers whose loans were either owned or serviced by any of the five large banks in the settlement – Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan-Chase, and Wells Fargo. This was a win for California, but it is not enough.

The housing and economic challenges we face as a nation require a robust network of affordable housing options, including public and private sector investment. Yet, Sequestration may lead to the reduction, nationwide, of more than 100,000 Housing Choice Vouchers for families that have already used them to secure affordable apartments on the private market. Those families are likely to be evicted.

As a member of Congress, I am dedicated to strengthening and protecting initiatives that create sustainable, livable communities and foster a culture of responsible homeownership for hardworking families.

For more information concerning my work and views on housing, please contact me.

 
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