Friday, October 19, 2007

2007 Mayoral Housing Summit

Already in the midst of a housing crisis, the recent woes in the subprime market have made the dream of owning a home an increasingly remote possibility for working and middle class families in Los Angeles. The full impact of this downturn was laid out at the Los Angeles Business Council’s 6th Annual Mayoral Housing Summit, a regular gathering of policymakers and opinion leaders dedicated to improving LA’s housing situation.

The bad news is that we expect the foreclosure crisis to worsen in the coming years. The good news is that there is something we can do about. Earlier this year, my office did a press conference with Operation HOPE, a mortgage-counseling hotline that connects homeowners with financial services representatives. Within 24 hours, the hotline had received over 3,000 phone calls. Creating financial counseling opportunities for all Angelenos is an important first step.

More relief efforts are on the way. I’m currently working with the Housing Department to create a fund that will help to preserve the stock of affordable rental units in the city. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund continues to build more housing stock in the city, bringing the price within reach of those trying to settle their families into a home. Addressing the housing crisis will take a coordinated response from government, the financial sector, and the city’s builders.