Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters along with Rushmore Cervantes, Interim General Manager, Los Angeles Housing Department; Timothy Watkins, CEO, Watts Labor Community Action Committee; and Charles Quarles, President, Bedford Group joined Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) during his visit to Los Angeles for a tour of several properties that have benefited from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in South Los Angeles. Congresswoman Waters statement about Secretary Donovan's visit is below:
"I am so pleased to see the great work that the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is doing in our community, and to highlight the need to expand upon our previous efforts with Project Rebuild. As the author of NSP, I saw the need to address the issues struggling communities faced when it came to the rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed properties. Two years ago, Secretary Donovan came to South Los Angeles and toured some Neighborhood Stabilization Program properties with me. In the years since the Secretary was last here, we've made some progress. But more clearly still needs to be done."
"About a quarter of people with mortgages in our state have negative equity. That amounts to about 2 million households, and they're each underwater to the tune of about $90,000 a piece. In all there is about $30 billion of negative equity in California. These statistics are why I've made advocacy for NSP and other foreclosure-assistance programs a central part of my work in Congress."
"The only reason we have the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is because we demanded that unless this program was authorized, and provided with $4 billion in funding, we were going to hold up President Bush's Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 -- the bill that let him take-over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There was no appetite to help struggling communities rehabilitate vacant and foreclosed properties at that time, but we in Congress made it a priority."
"With a total NSP funding level of $7 billion, HUD estimates that 100,000 properties in the hardest-hit areas will be impacted. This number of properties makes up almost 20 percent of the real estate-owned (REO) properties in NSP-targeted areas. Moreover, HUD estimates that NSP will support about 100,000 jobs nationwide."
"This funding has had a direct and substantial impact on the greater Los Angeles area. During the second, competitive round of funding, Los Angeles received the largest grant award of any city in the United States and the second largest grant overall, clearly a testament both to the work of advocates and local officials here on the ground, and also the scale of the foreclosure problem in Los Angeles."
"Though we've had some important victories, more still clearly needs to be done on the issue of foreclosures, and I'm pleased that the Secretary has taken the opportunity to highlight this with me today, right here in Los Angeles."