76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, the number of foreclosures soared in 2007, with 405,000 households losing their homes – an increase of 51 percent over 2006 levels; and

WHEREAS, the total number of properties with foreclosure activity in April 2008 reached the highest level on a monthly basis since RealtyTrac began issuing reports on foreclosures in January 2005; and

WHEREAS, this crisis has impacted virtually every city in the country, urban as well as rural areas, and homeowners as well as renters; and

WHEREAS, communities across this country are being devastated by the foreclosure crisis, which has already left many neighborhoods with boarded up homes, declining property values and rising crime; and

WHEREAS, foreclosures in many cases are concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods of a City, where hard-working people have scraped together money to buy homes – often utilizing City programs to do so; and

WHEREAS, the eroding property values directly and significantly impact the quality of life in neighborhoods, reduce the tax base of local governments, and impose increasing costs to city budgets already heavily burdened by a weakened economy; and

WHEREAS, Mayors and community leaders have worked hard to make these neighborhoods thriving places to live and work and the wave of mortgage foreclosures threatens to overtake these neighborhoods where the City and state, federal and non-profit partners have invested millions of dollars to produce high quality, affordable housing,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to pass legislation forthwith that helps stabilize neighborhoods; targets communities and populations most in need; provides flexibility in the use of the funds so that the most effective response can be designed based on local circumstances, including program alternatives for re-occupancy that do not require local governments to first purchase foreclosed properties before using funds; allows an administrative cap of up to 10 percent on grants to support grantee activities directly tied to foreclosure intervention;and distributes funds directly to local governments on the frontlines fighting this crisis and best positioned to act quickly;and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges that legislation not restrict unrealistically high amounts of the resources to solely target very low income households, particularly in high-cost localities where housing program experts consider the type and price of the foreclosed housing stock incompatible with sustainable affordable homeownership at those income levels or for rental conversion, which may undermine local efforts to preserve owner-occupied housing and reduce concentration of poverty in these communities, an approach proven to promote neighborhood vitality and stability for all residents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges that the servicers responsible for the foreclosed and abandoned properties be obligated to work with local governments upon becoming responsible for a foreclosed property in an effort to facilitate the rapid purchase and renovation of foreclosed properties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors applauds the leadership of the House Financial Services Committee, House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for addressing foreclosures and thanks them for their work on behalf of the nation’s cities and residents.