“Facing the most economic distress and illness, low-income families and communities of color are most at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure without relief. The Homeowner Assistance Fund is a necessary measure to stem the impending foreclosure crisis and prevent devastating losses for families and neighborhoods.”
AFR joined a letter expressing strong support for the nomination of Rep. Marcia Fudge as the next Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The letter cited Rep. Fudge’s stand-out qualifications, her long track record of working across party lines and with a wide range of stakeholders, and her demonstrated lifelong commitment to advancing the civil rights of all people. It urged the Senate to support her prompt confirmation.
Americans for Financial Reform joined a letter to the Biden administration highlighting the critical budget-related items that would help consumers in any upcoming Covid legislation. The letter urged President Biden to halt garnishment and offset certain tax refunds, fund a Housing Assistance Fund and housing counseling, and cancel student debt.
AFR joined a letter urging President-Elect Biden to expand assistance to homeowners in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package. The letter called on the Biden administration to support the establishment of a Housing Assistance Fund, provide funding for HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and legal assistance, and to support several legislative measures to prevent the coming tsunami of foreclosures that likely will be concentrated in low-income communities and communities of color.
Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund signed onto a housing letter opposing the OCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “Fair Access to Financial Services.” The letter urged the OCC to withdraw the proposed rulemaking in its entirety, on the basis that it is a perversion of long-held anti-discrimination principles. The letter stated that the OCC appropriated civil rights language to protect market activities, drafted vague and unintelligible standards, undermined the ability of financial institutions to consider important facets of reputational risk in making investment and underwriting determinations, and provided a negligently inadequate 45-day comment period in the midst of the COVID crisis.
Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, Center for Responsible Lending, National Consumer Law Center, National Fair Housing Alliance, and Student Borrower Protection Center sent a joint letter urging HUD to transition to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) and share its LIBOR transition plan as soon as possible. This transition plan should include providing direction to housing counselors about the process and a targeted outreach plan to provide borrowers and all stakeholders with timely, accurate information so that they know what to expect in the months to come.
For over 45 years, the disparate impact doctrine has allowed people to chip away at policies that have a discriminatory effect even if there is no intent to discriminate. When the need to address systemic racism is so urgent, and the costs of failing to do so are so devastating, HUD has chosen to finalize a rule that effectively dismantles this essential tool for fighting injustice.
It is absolutely critical for the well-being of families, communities and the economy that homes are protected. Congress needs to enact measures to protect homeowners and renters, including the following mortgage protections, which our organizations have been advocating: