WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 7, 2013) — Advocates hoping for an emphasis on homeownership to help the struggling economy emerged somewhat disappointed from the President’s live chat hosted by Zillow Wednesday.
The Greenlining Institute, a multi-ethnic public policy, research and advocacy institute, states that while acknowledging that a home is where Americans have most of their wealth, Obama emphasized affordable rental opportunities as a major solution to the housing crisis. He also said that other policy issues will impact housing, including immigration reform and student loans.
This Q&A came on the heels of Obama’s Tuesday unveiling of a proactive plan for restoring the American dream of homeownership, regarded by advocates as generally positive but lacking needed specifics in key areas.
“We are encouraged by President Obama’s attention to housing, but important pieces are still missing,” said Greenlining Institute Economic Equity Director Sasha Werblin. “Homeownership is essential to improving our overall economy, so we can’t neglect those left out of the nation’s recent recovery.
“We are concerned that this announcement comes too late for the many families shut out of the housing market,” Werblin continued. “The president’s plan lacks specific solutions to provide affordable homes to low-income Americans and consumers of color, even as these families are being pushed out of the housing market by investors who can make all-cash offers. And in places like the Bay Area, where rents are skyrocketing, a plan focused solely on rentals is not an adequate solution.
“We urge the president to pursue concrete recovery plans that get hard-working families into affordable homes, like down-payment assistance for first-time homebuyers and principal reduction programs for the millions who still have underwater homes.” www.greenlining.org