HUD Secretary Julian Castro: Stop Selling Our Neighborhoods to Wall Street!

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    HUD Secretary Julian Castro: Stop Selling Our Neighborhoods to Wall Street!

    Under Secretary Julian Castro, HUD promised to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by selling more overdue mortgage loans to nonprofit community organizations rather than Wall Street banks. But in reality HUD’s two most recent sales have sent 98% of the mortgages straight to Wall Street – and at a HUGE discount, almost half off! HUD’s mission is “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.” Selling off our neighborhoods to Wall Street – at a steep discount – does not help keep people in their homes, nor fulfill that mission., along with the organizations listed below, calls on Secretary Castro to immediately cease sales through the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program until they can ensure those loans will not be sold to the Wall St firms and speculators who caused the Housing crisis. 

    Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action

    American Family Voices

    Courage Campaign

    CPD Action

    Daily Kos

    Democracy for America


    New York Communities for Change

    Other 98%




    Working Families Party

    This is the open letter from Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) we'll send to HUD, demanding that Secretary Castro immediately ceases HUD mortgage sales until he can ensure the loans will be sold to nonprofit and mission-driven organizations, not reckless Wall Street banks.

    April 7, 2016

    The Honorable Julian Castro


    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 451 7th Street, S.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20410

    Dear Secretary Castro,

    Since the beginning of the housing market collapse, I’ve heard stories of hardship and unfair treatment from my constituents that shocked and sometimes profoundly upset me. As you know, my home state of Arizona has been one of the hardest hit in the country. Reckless investment banker decisions and the bad policies that enabled them have meant financial difficulties, widespread bankruptcies and sometimes homelessness for the families I and my neighbors represent. The damage done to them has not been entirely remedied — and more is being done today.

    I and some of my colleagues have urged reforms and an end to the days of casino-level gambling with other peoples’ livelihoods. Unfortunately, federal agencies are worsening with one hand what they seek to fix with the other. Your own Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, which was designed to help right the wrongs of the meltdown years, has been selling homes that once belonged to families like the ones I’ve spoken with at rock-bottom prices to the Wall Street entities that created this situation in the first place. Many of these homes were once owned by elderly retirees, people of color and other communities at greater than average risk of financial insecurity. Their lives are not improved, and their neighborhoods are not strengthened, when responsible agencies sell their former properties to investment banks.

    Among many potential alternatives, I strongly recommend giving greater priority to Community Development Financial Institutions that express interest in purchasing large pools of distressed loans. These entities are better positioned — and, frankly, have more credibility — to make decisions in a community’s best interest, whether helping an owner stay in a home or converting a unit to the most appropriate level of affordable housing. Your Department can and should empower these good actors wherever possible, especially when the alternative is to trust that Wall Street’s first priority is now community development rather than profit maximization.

    Your Department’s mission is to create stable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all Americans. Selling thousands of empty homes across the country to investment banks with little interest in the fate of those neighborhoods is not consistent with that mission.

    You and your advisors can improve the standards of the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program before the next major round of asset sales. I urge you, on behalf of the people I represent whose lives have been damaged by the housing crisis, to open the door to greater CDFI access in purchasing distressed properties.


    Raul M. Grijalva (D-Arizona)

    Member of Congress

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