Friday, November 09, 2007

Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO said, “The foreclosure crisis we currently face in the Latino community is only going to get worse unless we act now” HOGAR’s, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s National Housing Initiative, recommendations are the first concrete steps we must take to protect countless Latinos from losing their homes. CHCI is a body that is uniquely positioned with 25 Members of Congress serving on the board; its main work is to inform policy makers on the critical implication of their findings.

According to a very recent finding by HOGAR in partnership with NeighborWorks(R) America released the findings of eight national focus groups with Latino-serving housing professionals. It proposed its testimonials for policymakers, community advocates, and market players on how to prevent Latino home foreclosures.

Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) and Congressmen Joe Baca (CA-43) and Albio Sires (NJ-13) were three of who participated in the policy briefing discussing eight focus groups held nationally with more than 90 housing industry representatives. The main groups in focus were held in Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Miami, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Washington, DC; and Northern Virginia, areas with both high rates of foreclosure and large Latino populations.

“When so many Hispanics have been sold ticking time-bomb loans, it is crucial that we make it a priority to target this kind of predatory lending” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “I am committed to addressing the mortgage crisis, and I commend CHCI’s HOGAR initiative for making substantive and productive recommendations. It helps people in our communities continue to live the American Dream.”

Rep. Albio Sires, a member of the House Financial Services Committee said “The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s HOGAR program has once again provided valuable insight into the problem that potential Hispanic homeowners face in today’s housing market.” Their recent report names the Sustainable Homeownership - Market and Policy Implications for Communities, looks at guiding efforts in Congress to ensure that homeowners build wealth for their future, rather than lose hope and their home”.

HOGAR\’s recommendations to abate future foreclosures include:
Methods of flexible underwriting coupled with homeownership education by a trained professional is something that Lenders should be encouraged to continue using
The Leaders in the housing community should alleviate interaction between real estate professionals and housing counseling organizations to discuss how counseling can help homebuyers get and stay in their homes.

A system should be developed that allows housing professionals and consumers to anonymously report unethical acts to protect the most vulnerable populations.

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