The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

It’s Time to Talk About Housing

Photo via the Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress has released a brief on the state of the housing market and the comparatively pitiful amount of attention the persistent crisis in housing has received in the presidential election. Barack Obama is relatively silent when it comes to the persistent housing crisis, and Mitt Romney’s only vague policy recommendation is to obliterate HUD. In the brief, authors John Griffith, Julia Gordon and David Sanchez lay out seven essential questions that presidential candidates should be able to answer about housing in the United States. (Whether or not they will be able to do so is a different matter.)

Housing is of the utmost importance to Americans and should be important in this election cycle. As the foreclosure crisis persists, expounded by a crisis of unemployment, we must call upon our presidential candidates to provide real, substantive policy recommendations to revitalizing and reforming a basic human necessity: safe shelter.

Written by John Griffith, Julia Gordon, and David Sanchez for the Center for American Progress.

The ongoing housing crisis remains one of the biggest drags on our economic recovery. But less than three months before a presidential election viewed by many as a referendum on the economy, housing is little more than a side conversation on the campaign trail.

President Barack Obama has barely mentioned housing in recent months, aside from occasional pitches for reforms to help more homeowners refinance. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 59-point economic plan unveiled last year makes only a couple passing references to housing, and Gov. Romney is yet to release any substantive housing proposals since.

This brief lays out seven essential questions the presidential candidates need to answer on housing, including:

  1. What will you do to prevent more unnecessary foreclosures and keep more families in their homes?
  2. How will you address the problem of “underwater” mortgages?
  3. How will you revitalize communities already hit hard by the foreclosure crisis?
  4. How will you meet the pressing need for affordable rental housing?
  5. What will you do to ensure that working and middle class families can achieve homeownership in the future?
  6. What do you plan to do with the government backed mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and what will take their place in the mortgage market of the future?
  7. How do you plan to protect households from predatory lending and discrimination in the U.S. mortgage market?

Read the report here.

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