NORWALK, Conn., June 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) yesterday co-sponsored the Southern Connecticut Regional Housing and Economic Development Summit, where top public officials, housing activists, and financial institutions discussed housing challenges in the area.
Participants included Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), Mayor Richard Moccia (Norwalk), Mayor Bill Finch (Bridgeport), Mayor Michael Pavia (Stamford), Connecticut Housing Finance Authority President & Executive Director Eric Chatman, Acting HUD Regional Director Suzanne Piacentini, State Commissioner of Housing Evonne Kline, and other elected officials, administrators, pastors, and community leaders.
At the event, Lawrence H. Parks, Senior Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs at FHLBank San Francisco, cited the many benefits of homeownership to the gathering of more than 75 people.
"Together we are working to ensure the housing market in Connecticut recovers from the Great Recession - because we know that when housing recovers, the economy recovers," Mr. Parks said. "We know from the data that when Americans can build equity in their own homes, families are able to use this wealth to start small businesses, send their kids to college, and retire with dignity and financial independence. We believe that these are opportunities that every hardworking American should be able to earn."
Mr. Parks noted that the housing market in Connecticut has experienced significant progress. From 2010 to 2011, foreclosure filings dropped by 38%, in 2012 mortgage activity increased 16%, and data from last month showed that Connecticut's foreclosure rate has fallen to 4.2%. "But New Haven, Hartford, and Fairfield have been hit the hardest, and still today one in every 636 homes throughout Connecticut is in foreclosure," he said. "We are in recovery, but it has been slower than we had all hoped."
He said the FHLBank San Francisco is proud to participate in the summit. "We're here today because of our mission to support the economic recovery and revitalization of communities throughout the country," Mr. Parks said. "Currently in Connecticut, 17 of our member institutions have pledged 4,950 mortgage loans - a value of over $1.1 billion dollars - that will allow more working families to get into their own homes."
Moreover, Mr. Parks cited the work of Sen. Murphy, saying he has led the fight to protect Connecticut homeowners.
"While the number of home foreclosures nationwide is inching downward, the same isn't necessarily true in southwestern Connecticut," Sen. Murphy said. "The cost of living in Fairfield County is much higher than in other parts of the country, but the huge wealth disparity means that many families are getting priced out of the market. We need more affordable housing and more options to help people in Connecticut stay in their homes."
During the summit, officials agreed that the housing crisis is not over but conditions are improving. They identified the high unemployment rate as a hurdle to increasing homeownership and the need to increase the supply of affordable housing.
"We're here to have a real dialogue," said Carl McCluster, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church. "People come here with their own interests and own points of view, but we need to wrap our arms around these challenges."
In addition to FHLBank San Francisco, other sponsors included Bank of America, Peoples United Bank, Connecticut Department of Banking, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Fair Housing Center, and FREEDOM.
FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgage loans to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. The Bank also funds community investment programs that help members create affordable housing and promote community economic development. The Bank's members are headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada and include commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions.
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco