September 9th, 2011

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 415-846-7758 (cell)

Plan to Save Homes, Stabilize Housing Market Is Essential, Greenlining Institute Argues

WASHINGTON  – Policy experts at The Greenlining Institute applauded key elements of  President Obama’s jobs speech this evening, but expressed doubt about  others and urged Congress and the president to address the ongoing  foreclosure crisis as an essential element to any jobs plan.

“We  applaud the president for pushing to put Americans to work rebuilding  our crumbling infrastructure and schools and to save teachers’ jobs,” said Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar.  “And we’re glad he addressed tax fairness, but we’re less convinced  that the tax cuts will actually create jobs.” In any case, these actions  by themselves won’t be enough. To get the economy moving forward, we  simply must address the millions of people in danger of losing their  homes to foreclosure. This massive ‘shadow inventory’ is a dead weight  on the housing market and the whole economy, and we can’t ignore it.

“Everyone  from the leadership of the International Monetary Fund to Bloomberg’s  editorial board has said that mortgage relief is essential,” Aguilar  added. “Principal reduction will stabilize neighborhoods, revive housing  and construction, and allow consumers to start spending again.  Fannie  Mae and Freddie Mac back nearly half the nation’s mortgages but have  resisted principal reduction, and our elected leaders must push them to  do the right thing.

“We  applaud the president’s infrastructure initiative, but we need to make  sure these dollars find their way to small businesses, whose importance  the president acknowledged. Small businesses are the economic engine of  many of the hardest-hit communities, especially black and Latino  neighborhoods that have shockingly high unemployment rates, and not  enough of the original stimulus reached them.”