|Congresswoman Pelosi talks with constituents at a housing foreclosure workshop in San Francisco.|
Ensuring access to safe, affordable housing and reducing homelessness are among my top priorities in Congress. Millions of working families in America devote up to 60 percent of their disposable income to pay for their housing. Such high housing costs limit the ability of many families to cover other basic needs like health care, gasoline, and groceries. In San Francisco, a high-cost housing area, there is a significant and growing need for affordable housing, both for lower-income families and for populations with special needs.
The low-income housing tax credit and the National Housing Trust Fund are a vital source of funds for the preservation and further development of affordable housing stock. In these tough economic times, frozen credit markets and sparse capital availability have presented enormous challenges for advocates of affordable housing. For this reason, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we included $2.25 billion in gap financing to restart low-income housing construction affected by the housing and credit crisis.
California will receive more than $72 million in federal funding in 2012 for public housing. Last August, we celebrated a $30.5 million Choice Neighborhoods grant to revitalize, redevelop, and expand the Alice Griffith Housing Development, a community of 256 units of multi-family public housing in San Francisco.
I look forward to continuing to work with affordable housing community leaders in San Francisco and advocates nationwide to examine ways to strengthen affordable housing.
The City and County of San Francisco, with the financial support of the federal government, has developed innovative and effective initiatives to reduce homelessness, and in so doing become a model for local governments across the nation and around the world. However, homelessness remains a challenge for the city.
House Democrats included $1.5 billion for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. The funding was designed to help already homeless or at risk individuals to lose their homes.
In San Francisco, public housing, rental assistance vouchers and housing for seniors and the disabled are crucial to ensuring safe, affordable housing for very low-income families and individuals.
To end the long waitlists, I have long advocated increasing funding for housing assistance programs, including support for public housing authorities, replacement and refurbishment of distressed public housing units and for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). Additionally, I have fought to bring millions of federal dollars to replace obsolete public housing units such as at Valencia Gardens, Hunters View and Sunnydale.
For families across America, the threat of foreclosures remains a critical concern. As a result of the overall housing slump, tens of millions of homeowners have also seen the value of their homes—their primary investment—drop in value. Unfortunately, California stands on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis and is ground zero for some of the worst effects of the downturn in our housing sector.
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. For more information on these programs, click here.
Recently, the Federal government and 49 state attorneys general reached a global settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers for irregularities in the foreclosure process that violated the law. The settlement provides as much as $26 billion in relief to distressed borrowers, borrowers whose loans are 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. California was designated to receive by far the largest share in the nation on the settlement, which guaranteed homeowners in our state alone nearly $12 billion. Additional information about the settlement can be found by visiting the following webpage: www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.