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Recent up-to-date figures of HUD-VA owned foreclosed properties in selected cities indicate that this problem continues to haunt our cities.
As of May 1975 HUD owned 69,695 single-family properties nationwide and the VA owned 11,345.
The following table will illustrate the volume of units that could be turned over to the corporation by HUD and VA in selected cities:
As of March 1975, the Los Angeles area insuring office of HUD had 3,874 foreclosed single-family homes in their inventory. Of this total, 100 were in Ventura County and the remainder, 3,774 units, were in Los Angeles County.
The city of Los Angeles accounted for 1,395 of these units, 37 percent. Compton owned 759, 20 percent, units and Pomona had 462 units, 12 percent.
Seventy-three other cities within the county accounted for the remaining 1,162 units.
The heaviest concentration of units was in the south-central section of Los Angeles where 1,084 units accounted for 78 percent of that city's total in south-central.
The VA has 1,105 repossessed properties in the Los Angeles area, 404 in Los Angeles citywide, and 8 in Watts.
Exact figures fall short of describing the full magnitude of the housing abandonment problem in terms of the destruction of the quality of life it produces.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has implemented several programs to rid itself of its growing inventory of repossessed homes.
These attempts include: the urban homesteading program announced May 1974, a 1-year experimental program with a projected goal of putting 700 homes in the hands of low-income citizens.
This program has been fraught with difficulties because low-income homeowners have difficulties getting financing to repair these units; the "sale as is” program to encourage rapid purchase of HUD repossessions; "policy release option" program for local governments; neighborhood housing services program that make available loan funds for inner city areas that are deteriorating. In addition, a few cities have their own homesteading programs.
Overall, very little has been done at the Federal or State level to adequately address the abandonment issue and none of the HUD programs have the necessary elements and flexibility to deal with developing unique solutions to the abandoned housing problem.
There is no specific program to stop the housing abandonment wave from gaining momentum in city after city or to repair the destruction abandonment leaves in its wake.
Many different reasons have been given for the abandonment problem but it is difficult to deny that the Federal Government is not at least partially responsible for the problem.
Many persons who could not afford housing were allowed to buy units.
Little or no counseling for families buying a house for the first time was provided.
Kickbacks, schemes and speculation, by realtors, builders and HUD personnel have also contributed to this problem.
Recognizing that the Federal Government had a hand in creating the abandonment disaster and also recognizing that the Federal Government has a strong interest in the quality of housing generally and specifically in protecting the housing for which it has insured or guaranteed mortgages.
The Abandonment Demonstration Relief Act establishes a special government sponsored corporation to deal with the problem of abandoned housing units.
The Agency to be called the Neighborhood Preservation Corporation would work in this manner:
It would be empowered to seize and acquire title of abandoned housing units quickly to prevent deterioration of the unit and to stem the spread of abandonment in a neighborhood.
The Corporation could renovate, rent, sell, construct, demolish units, repair, refinance, purchase property, condemn, and originate mortgages at interest rates below the going market rate.
The Corporation could hold land for redevelopment and construct new housing according to a city's housing plan.
This proposal seeks to turn abandonment disaster into a "plus" by preventing deterioration of abandoned units by securing possession quickly and seeing whether a single purpose agency on abandonment can bring together with the Federal Government, local officials, lenders, renewal and housing agencies, and community organizations, and others necessary to develop a corporative effort for the improvement of urban life.
[Copy of the bill being considered follows:]
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
JUNE 23 (legislative day, JUNE 6), 1975 Mr. CRANSTON (for himself, Mr. Philip A. HART, and Mr. MONDALE) introduced
the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
A BILL To provide, on a demonstration basis, emergency relief for the
general welfare and security of the United States by preventing the loss of existing housing units through the phenomenon of housing abandonment, to protect the health and living standards in communities and neighborhoods threatened by abandonment, to protect the interests of the United States in connection with certain mortgage transactions, to assist local public bodies in the development and redevelopment of well-planned, integrated, residential neighborhoods and in the development and redevelopment of communities, and other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembleil,
SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the “Abandon
3 ment Disaster Demonstration Relief Act”.
4 DECLARATION OF POLICY AND STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
SEC. 2. (a) The Congress finds and declares that,
(1) the abandonment of residential housing in the United States substantially burdens the flow of inter
state commerce and impedes the effective utilization of
the Nation's housing stock, and the health and welfare of the people of the United States is damaged by the resulting loss of housing units in many urban areas;
(2) the abandonment of such housing acts as a contagious disease when it spreads unchecked throughout neighborhoods and entire communities, resulting in the abandonment of standard as well as substandard housing
in many cases;
(3) certain mortgage guaranty and insurance programs administered by agencies of the United States are
relied upon by the holders of mortgages on abandoned residential properties and discourage such holders from taking reasonable corrective actions at the earliest practicable time, thereby imposing a substantial financial
burden on the agencies involved in such programs; and
(4) the continued unchecked spread of housing
abandonment may, in some cases, impair the financial
1 position and liquidity of federally related financial in2 stitutions, and thereby result in an even greater financial 3 burden on agencies of the United States. 4 (b) It is the purpose of this Act to establish a Neigh5 borhood Protection Corporation which will have the 6 authority, on a demonstration basis, to enter and take 7 possession of abandoned residential properties in order to 8 prevent the continued deterioration and destruction of 9 neighborhoods and communities and to hold and assemble 10 parcels of land for the orderly development and redevelop11 ment of neighborhoods and communities.
SEC. 3. For purposes of this Act,
(1) The term “residential property” means any real property (including improvements) which is designed for occupancy by one or more families and
(A) which is subject to a mortgage which is insured or guaranteed by an agency of the United
(B) which is subject to a mortgage held by
any federally related financial institution.
(2) The term “federally related financial institu
(A) any bank the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;