CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Himes, Finch Announce $6M to Lessen Foreclosure Crisis

March 16, 2009
Press Release

BRIDGEPORT, CT – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch announced today that $5,865,300 in federal funding to Bridgeport will be used to help lessen the crippling effects of foreclosure crisis through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. With over 1,000 foreclosed homes in Bridgeport, the investment is critical to stemming the tide of foreclosures the city faces and preventing the blight, reduced property tax value, and abandonment that inhibit economic development.

“Addressing the foreclosure crisis at the heart of our economic melt-down is one of the most important things we can do to turn our economy around,” said Congressman Himes. “I applaud Mayor Finch for taking quick action to ensure this funding gets into the hands of real people to make a real difference in our economy.”

In keeping with the premise that federal money should be spent quickly to ensure it has the greatest effect, the city must distribute this funding in the next 18 months. Additionally, in order to ensure that the help gets to those that need it most, 30% of the funds must be used for households at or below 50% of area median income. The program will invest in local neighborhoods in a number of ways, including:
Financial Mechanisms to purchase and redevelop foreclosed properties;
Purchase and rehabilitate homes and residential properties that have been abandoned or foreclosed upon;
Establish land banks for homes that have been foreclosed upon;
Demolish blighted structures; and
Redevelop demolished or blighted properties.

The city plans to partner with Housing Development Fund of Lower Fairfield County to leverage an additional $26.2 million of Smart Move Loan Pool funds.

“The magnitude of the housing crisis in the city of Bridgeport has no parallel in Connecticut,” Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said. “Circumstances here are among the very worst in the country, but the $6 million will go a long way to helping us stabilize neighborhoods and help people get into homes they can afford. We are grateful to our partners at HUD, on Capitol Hill, and at the state Department of Economic and Community Development for recognizing the great need we have here in Bridgeport.”

Additional funding for local Neighborhood Stabilization Programs is also possible. While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was in negotiations between the U.S. House and Senate, Congressman Himes fought to maintain funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Himes and a number of his colleagues explained that neighborhoods are in desperate need of these funds, which have successfully helped . As a result, an additional $1.9 billion from the Recovery Act will be available for Neighborhood Stabilization Programs through a competitive grant process.

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