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VOICE Op-Ed on Requiring Banks to Rebuild Communities Devastated by Foreclosure

VOICE Op-Ed on Requiring Banks to Rebuild Communities Devastated by Foreclosure

Monday, June 16, 2014
The Hill

By Rev. Clyde Ellis, Rev. Keith Savage and Father Gerry Creedon

Hannah Senft, Candy Savannah and Ron Taylor have been neighbors for more than 20 years in Georgetown South, a community of 800 townhomes in Manassas, Virginia. It’s a diverse, working-class suburban neighborhood about 30 miles from the White House.

And it’s being decimated.

Many communities suffered in the housing crisis and, for residents of Georgetown South, there’s no end in sight. Not only did J.P. Morgan Chase and other predatory lenders flood the market with subprime loans that were structured to fail, they turned Georgetown South into a place where absentee landlords allow their properties to fall into squalor as the neighborhood struggles to rebuild. 

VOICE has already secured $30 million in commitments from Bank of America, General Electric and the Virginia Housing Development Authority to rehabilitate blighted properties and develop new housing in neighborhoods like Georgetown South. To date, J.P. Morgan Chase has refused to participate.

Used properly, the DOJ settlements create a powerful opportunity to help rebuild devastated communities like Georgetown South and others nationwide and to find justice for the millions of Ron’s still struggling. The question is: Will President Obama and Attorney General Holder compel bankers to really clean up their mess?