Releases & Statements

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymembers Norma Torres (D-Pomona) and Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) today urged the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to consider several home foreclosure prevention approaches as CalHFA develops the state’s program proposal for $700 million in new federal Hardest Hit Housing Market (H4M) assistance. The proposal for the federal H4M funding is due by April 16, 2010.

“California has been hit harder by the foreclosure crisis and subsequent recession than any other state in the Union, and these funds will help stabilize California’s housing market,” said Speaker Pérez. “Stopping the hemorrhaging in the housing market will help to stabilize our economy, and allow us to focus on creating the quality, high-paying jobs that are our pathway to recovery.”

“As you know, the H4M program presents California with an opportunity to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure, are underwater in their mortgages, and/or are unemployed,” the legislators wrote in a letter to CalHFA. “Recognizing the short time period the California Housing Finance Agency has to develop this program, we commend the Agency for your efforts to solicit input from stakeholders who work with at-risk homeowners.”

The legislators added, “As the Assembly continues our efforts to help California recover from the recession and the foreclosure crisis, we look forward to working with you to ensure that the proposal and programs developed by your Agency will be successful in helping California homeowners – and the neighborhoods and communities that suffer from foreclosures as well.”

Specifically, the legislators suggested the following measures:

•      Develop strategies with banking partners to leverage the $700 million available to the state to ensure that the funds are used to the maximum advantage.  Encourage lenders to participate as equal partners in the program so that the private sector investment complements the government investment

•      Offer homeowners comprehensive information and tools to evaluate foreclosure alternatives including short sales

•      Devise strategies to help ensure that homeowners assisted through the program can maintain their mortgages for the long-term

•      Build upon an existing program with Genworth to provide unemployment insurance to homeowners who may be temporarily out of work and therefore unable to pay their mortgage

•      Consider the establishment of partnerships with programs that provide counseling or mediation services to homeowners at risk of foreclosure

The Assembly’s home foreclosure prevention approaches are based on recent outreach efforts conducted by Assemblymember Torres in the Inland Empire, Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston) in the Central Valley and Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) in the San Diego region.

Attached is the letter to CalHFA. (Link below)

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez:

Contact: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408