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July 25, 2008

Congresswoman Velazquez’s Legal Counseling Provisions Included in Comprehensive Housing Bill

Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week approved H.R. 3221, “The American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008” by a vote of 272-152.  As New York City’s senior Member on the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) worked to ensure that New York City neighborhoods are not weakened by foreclosures and City residents have access to important counseling services.

“With nearly 700 homes in foreclosure in my District alone, it’s clear that our neighbors need help.  Homeowners deserve to have someone on their side during the home buying process.  Through education and legal assistance we can stem the tide of foreclosures,” Congresswoman Velázquez said.

The housing bill included an initiative by Congresswoman Velázquez that makes legal counseling services more accessible for distressed homeowners and tenants in foreclosed properties.  This assistance comes in the form of a $30 million grant program targeting the nation’s hardest hit areas and low-income homeowners. With the funding, legal service providers will have the expanded capacity to reach more homeowners and tenants to provide them with sound legal advice.

“The mortgage crisis impacts all of us. Families have lost their homes, millions more are on the brink of foreclosure and homeowners have seen their property values plummet,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “We have taken an important step to help New Yorkers stay in their homes and get our economy back on track.”

The comprehensive bill approved this week allows hard-working American families in danger of losing their home to refinance into lower-cost, government-insured mortgages – at no cost to the American taxpayer.  The legislation also provides resources to allow cities and states to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed properties, expands homeownership opportunities for veterans, provides tax breaks to spur home buying and creates a new fund to boost the nation’s stock of affordable rental housing. 

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