Merkley Cosponsors Bill to Help Communities Hurt by Foreclosures

Washington, DC – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley cosponsored the Project Rebuild Act to help communities hard hit by a high number of foreclosures.  The legislation will provide funding to purchase, rehabilitate, and/or redevelop foreclosed, abandoned, demolished, or vacant properties.

Introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Project Rebuild builds on the successful Neighborhood Stabilization Program by adding eligibility for commercial redevelopment and for private development companies to participate. The project will improve at least 150,000 properties across all 50 states, improving communities that are currently seeing home prices dragged down by abandoned or foreclosed homes.

“The financial collapse has led to more than three million foreclosures, and with 5 million more on the horizon, we need a plan to support our families and strengthen our communities,” Merkley said. “The Project Rebuild Act will invest in our communities, converting blighted, foreclosed houses to financial foundations for families seeking a home.  Fixing up foreclosed homes will raise the value of every house in a community, and will create jobs in the renovations.  This is the type of targeted investment we need to get our housing market and economy back on track.” 

Under Project Rebuild, funding will go directly to states and communities across the country to take on the challenge of improving unused properties. Competitive grants will be available to states, local governments, for-profit businesses, non-profit entities and consortia of these entities. 

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which Project Rebuild builds on and expands, was created in 2008 with the goal of creating jobs, treating foreclosed homes, and stabilizing home prices. The program created 88,000 jobs, treated nearly 33,000 properties, completed nearly 50,000 units of affordable housing, and provided homeownership assistance to more than 20,400 low-income households. The Project Rebuild Act is estimated to create nearly 200,000 jobs.