Yesterday when I spoke to NCLR during their annual conference, I had the honor of standing next to Janet Murguia and the leadership of NCLR and thanking them for the extraordinary work on behalf of Latino families, particularly in the wake of this economic crisis.
We spoke of families that have been affected by the crisis, such as Tom and Tamera Hewlett-Vallejo who spent years trying to work with their bank to save their home to no avail.
As they said the day their Sacramento home was about to be auctioned off, “we literally went to church on Sunday praying for help.”
Well, because of the recent $25 billion servicing settlement, their prayers were answered. Through the settlement, the Vallejos were able to reduce both their mortgage balance and their interest rate, not only saving them nearly $7,000 per year — but giving this hard-working family the help they needed to keep their home.
That’s why, whether the issue is helping families avoid foreclosure or refinance, these efforts aren’t only about rebuilding the wealth we’ve lost during this crisis — they’re also about rebuilding our faith in the American Dream.
I’m proud to live in a country that recognizes when families like Tom and Tamera Hewett-Vallejo almost have that dream taken from them, we have a responsibility to stand up for them.
And I’m just as proud to work for a President who recognizes that the American Dream is about so much more than simply taking out a mortgage — that it’s also about the opportunity to raise your children in a safe community, to send them to good schools, and to have the security to be able to retire with dignity.
And if this crisis has taught us anything about the American Dream, it’s that if you can’t be protected from predatory lending and unscrupulous servicers…if you can’t move to get a new job because your home is so deeply underwater…or if you can’t even buy a home in the first place–no matter how hard you’ve worked–then that’s no dream at all.
But restoring our faith in the American Dream isn’t just the right thing to do for families.
With Hispanic purchasing power expected to rise by another 50 percent over the next four years–and with Hispanic homeownership accounting for more than half the total growth in homeownership in the country– it’s also the right thing to do for the future of this country.
Put simply, an economy built to last must be built on the hopes and aspirations of the Latino community.
If you missed our conversation yesterday, watch it here: Don’t Quit the Dream: A Vision for Homeownership Beyond 2012.