A Win for Foreclosure Prevention and Affordable Housing

11 Nov

In July, I introduced Mayor & City Council Resolution 15-0557 which, if passed by the Council and signed by the Mayor, would commit the City of Baltimore to supporting a national effort to get delinquent mortgages into the hands of nonprofits for the purpose of saving homes from foreclosure and creating affordable housing.  

In September, I joined members of Local Progress, a national network of progressive elected officials for a day of action in Washington DC, where we met with senior officials at the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to ask them to support this effort by having them sell more of their own delinquent mortgages to nonprofits who want to either avoid foreclosure, or get foreclosed homes back into the hands of new families as quickly and affordably as possible.

Last week, the City Council’s committee on Housing & Community Development heard testimony and passed my resolution favorably, by a vote of 5-0.  Earlier this week, the City Council voted unanimously to move the resolution to 3rd reader, for final passage at our next meeting.

Yesterday, Melvin L. Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (and one of the people we met with in September), announced that they were expanding their Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative from a pilot program in Detroit to include 18 metropolitan areas across the US, including Baltimore. Community- based nonprofits in those areas will now get an exclusive 12-day window to purchase properties – at a slightly discounted price – which are being foreclosed on by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, before those properties would be available to the hedge funds and private equity firms which have been buying most of these mortgages.

I’m gonna call this a win.

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