Support the Foreclosure Amendment to the Housing Bill

Media 04.29,09

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

The undersigned consumer, civil rights, labor, faith-based, housing, financial, and community organizations representing tens of millions of Americans strongly urge you to vote for the foreclosure prevention amendment that will be offered by Senator Durbin when the full Senate takes up the House- passed housing bill (“Helping Families Save Their Homes Act”) later this week. Our organizations long have supported legislation to empower bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages on primary residences so as to provide the “stick” financially strapped homeowners desperately need to get their lenders to work with them to prevent avoidable foreclosures. Absent this stick, all the voluntary programs that have been put in place during the last 18 months have failed to produce the modifications necessary to save American families and repair the faltering housing market.

The amendment that will be offered on the Senate floor substantially narrows previous versions by enabling the servicer to prevent the borrower from obtaining a mortgage modification in bankruptcy simply by offering the borrower an affordable modification. Any such offer would bar judicial modification of the borrower’s mortgage forever. And, with this “stick” in place, the new voluntary modification programs have a substantially greater chance of succeeding, which would help stop foreclosures and stabilize the economy.

Mark Zandi of Moody’s projects that up to 1.7 million families will be able to save their home from foreclosure if this amendment is approved. At a time when an estimated 6,600 families are losing their home to foreclosure each and every day, there is no time for delay. We urge the Senate to support the amendment to lift the ban on judicial modification of primary residence mortgages in extremely narrowly drawn circumstances. Passage of this legislation is the most important thing Congress can do right now to help arrest the financial crisis and the terrible toll that it is taking on American families.


American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Americans for Fairness in Lending
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
Calvert Asset Management Company
Center for Responsible Lending
Central Illinois Organizing Project
Change to Win
Consumer Action
Consumers Union
Consumer Federation of America
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
National NeighborWorks Association
National People’s Action
National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness
North Carolina State Employees Credit Union
Opportunity Finance Network
PaxWorld Mutual Funds
PICO National Network
Rural Advancement Foundation International — USA
Service Employees International Union
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Affiliated Congregations to Improve our Neighborhoods, Gainesville, FL
Baldwin County ACT II, Baldwin County, AL
Bayou Interfaith Together
Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, Berkeley, CA
Beyond Housing, MO
Birmingham Area Interfaith Sponsoring Committee, Birmingham, AL
Brockton Interfaith Community, Brockton, MA
Brooklyn Congregations United, Brooklyn, NY
Camden Churches Organized for People, Camden, NJ
Communities Creating Opportunity – Kansas, Kansas City, KS
Congregations and Schools Empowered, Glenwood Springs, CA
Congregations Building Community, Modesto, CA
Congregations for Community Action, Melbourne, FL
Congregations Organizing for Renewal, South Alameda County, CA
Congregations Organizing People for Equality (COPE)
Congregations United for Neighborhood Action, Allentown, PA
Connecticut Association for Human Services
Connecticut Legal Services
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Forsyth County, Inc., NC
Contra Costa County Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, CA
Delta Interfaith Network (DIN)
Essex County Community Organization, Essex County, MA
Fair Housing Law Project, CA
Faith in Action Kern County, Kern County, CA
Faith in Community, Fresno, CA
Faith United Empowering Leadership (FUEL)
Faith Works, North San Diego County, CA
Federation of Congregations United to Serve, Orlando, FL
Financial Protection Law Center
Flint Area Congregations Together, Flint, MI
Florida Legal Services
Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization, Long Beach, CA
Greater Pensacola Community Organization, Pensacola, FL
Hope Ministry of Point Coupee
Housing Preservation Project, MN
Inland Congregations United for Change, San Berardino/Riverside/Coachella, CA
Interfaith Action, Rochester, NY
L.A. Voice, Los Angeles, CA
Legal Assistance Corp. of Central Massachusetts
Legal Assistance Resource Center for Connecticut
Massachusetts Communities Action Network, Boston, MA
Metro Organizations for People, Denver, CO
Metropolitan Interfaith Congregations Acting for Hope, Framingham, MA
MICAH Project, New Orleans, LA
Moving in Congregations, Acting in Hope, Cortland County, NY
National Housing Law Project, CA
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Camp Lejeunne, NC
North Carolina Community Action Association
North Carolina Housing Coalition
North Carolina State AFL-CIO
North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP
Northern Valley Sponsoring Committee, Yuba & Colussa Counties, CA
Oakland Community Organizations, Oakland, CA
Orange County Congregation Community Organization, Orange County, CA
Peninsula Interfaith Action, San Mateo County, CA
People Acting in Community Together, San Jose, CA
People and Congregations Together, Stockton, CA
PICO California, Sacramento, CA
PICO Louisiana Interfaith Together, Baton Rouge, LA
Public Justice Center, MD
Queens Congregations United for Action, Queens, NY
ROOF Project, Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund
Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Sacramento, CA
San Diego Organizing Project, San Diego, CA
San Francisco Organizing Project, San Francisco, CA
United Interfaith Action of Southeastern Massachusetts, New Bedford/Fall River, MA
Vermont Interfaith Action, Burlington, VT
Western Massachusetts Legal Services
Working Interfaith Network, Baton Rouge, LA