LARGO, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, today held a roundtable discussion on housing and home ownership issues in Prince George’s County and nationwide. Senator Cardin was joined in the discussion, which focused largely on the ongoing foreclosure crisis, by community leaders and members of state and county government. The conversation followed up on a December 2014 roundtable discussion in Upper Marlboro that included Julian Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.
“In 2011, as the housing market in Prince George’s County was approaching rock bottom, it was all hands on deck in the search for ways to address the crisis. Many of the people assembled today – including government officials and community and nonprofit leaders – answered that call and were instrumental in helping to keep countless people in their homes,” said Senator Cardin. “Since 2011, Prince George’s County’s home values have risen 60 percent, sales are up 3 percent and the number of residential properties on the market is down 29 percent. While we have made progress, there is no question that there is still work to be done. This discussion and our earlier conversations with HUD Secretary Castro were very helpful in identifying exactly what actions needed to be taken at various levels of government to ensure that everyone in Prince George’s County and across Maryland can achieve and preserve the American dream of home ownership.”
During the roundtable, Senator Cardin discussed the ongoing efforts to combat some of the conditions that led to a disproportionate number of foreclosures in Prince George’s County.
“While generally improving national and regional economies have played roles in reducing foreclosures and promoting home ownership, there remain important steps we can take to ensure that local residents do not find themselves facing crises again,” said Senator Cardin. “That begins with ensuring that prospective homebuyers receive full and accurate information about the agreements they are about to enter. It’s also essential that home owners facing foreclosure have ready access to objective advice about the complete range of options available to them.
“Few things in life matter as much as the roofs over our heads, so we must remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that the fundamental needs of Prince George’s County residents – and all Marylanders – are provided for and protected,” said Senator Cardin. “Today’s roundtable discussion helped move us toward that goal.”
Earlier this summer, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and other senators wrote to Secretary Castro and other federal housing, finance, and consumer protection regulators, calling for an investigation into potential violations of the Fair Housing Act by banks and lenders neglecting the maintenance of foreclosed homes in minority communities in favor of predominantly white communities. The letter asks the regulators to take appropriate actions to put a stop to any unequal treatment.