Credo Action

Tell Housing Secretary Julian Castro: Stop selling our neighborhoods to Wall Street

Sign the petition

Petition to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro:

"Suspend sales of mortgages in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP) until HUD can ensure that the program prioritizes what’s good for homeowners and their communities and give community development finance institutions first priority to buy mortgages."

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Tell Housing Secretary Julian Castro: Stop selling our neighborhoods to Wall Street

    It’s almost unbelievable: Instead of strengthening communities, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), led by Secretary Julian Castro, is actually helping Wall Street profit off of the housing crisis.

    In the years since the financial crisis, HUD has been slowly selling off the millions of distressed mortgages it insures, most of them belonging to Americans struggling to pay the bills. But because HUD auctions them off to the highest bidder, more than 98 percent have been snatched up by hedge funds and banks who promptly foreclose, flip the properties, or convert them to rental properties and jack up the rent.1

    In other words, Wall Street created the foreclosure crisis, and now it is profiting off the mess it made by snatching up foreclosed homes at bargain rates – with a huge helping hand from HUD.

    For years, housing activists and local communities have asked HUD to change its ways. In recent months progressive champions in Congress including Sen. Elizabeth Warren have demanded that HUD stop selling our neighborhoods to Wall Street, and we need to keep up the drumbeats of pressure by standing with them.2

    Tell Housing Secretary Julian Castro: Stop selling our neighborhoods to Wall Street.

    There is a better way. Right now, there are non-profit organizations called “Community Development Financial Institutions” with a proven track record of buying up loans in a responsible way, and then working to strengthen neighborhoods. They have billions in capital, but it’s still not enough to outbid hedge funds and other heavy hitters.

    HUD Secretary Julian Castro needs to put a stop to these sales until the FHA fixes this broken system. HUD should make sure nonprofits have an opportunity to purchase distressed loans – and start holding the for-profits’ feet to the fire. Not only do we need stronger requirements on what private firms can do with the loans they purchase, we need more public data on exactly what’s happening and tougher protections for the real, struggling people on the other end of these loans.

    HUD is supposed to take its mission – strengthening communities – into account whenever it sells off the millions of mortgages it insures. Instead of auctioning off people’s hopes and dreams, HUD should put Community Development Financial Institutions at the front of the line, and only turn to Wall Street buyers as a last resort.

    Tell Housing Secretary Julian Castro: Stop selling our neighborhoods to Wall Street.

    Huge hedge funds and private equity firms have scooped up 98 percent of the loans. Only one of every ten loans sold has met criteria measuring whether it helps the community. Meanwhile, a single private equity firm – Blackstone – has become the country’s biggest landlord by buying up foreclosed homes.3

    The callousness is shocking. Step one: Drive up housing prices by fraudulently selling off mortgages to investors. Step two: Get a bailout when it comes crashing down. Step three: Buy up the loans all over again, this time at record low prices – and make a killing off of rent or reselling the homes. And do it all with the enormous helping hand of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Tell Housing Secretary Julian Castro: Stop selling our neighborhoods to Wall Street.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Mark Kurlyandchik, “Feds accused of selling out neighborhoods to Wall St. firms,” Al Jazeera America, September 9, 2014.
    2. David Dayen, “This election is blinding us to a Wall Street outrage: Inside the media’s negligent response to a foreclosure disaster,” Salon.com, April 20, 2016.
    3. Kurlyandchik, “Feds accused of selling out neighborhoods to Wall St. firms.”