Today, the Preserving the American Dream Act is headed to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk. This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed Senator Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) Preserving the American Dream Act (SB 1327). The House version of the bill (HB2175), led by Del. Luke Torian (D-Prince William), passed on Wednesday.
The bill will help protect Virginia homeowners from foreclosures as families continue to face increasing challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Preserving the American Dream Act will require mortgage companies to give a 60-day notice period to homeowners that are facing foreclosure, a significant increase from the current 14-day notice period. The bill will also require the notice to include information regarding legal assistance and resources for the homeowner. Additionally it requires localities to provide plans to maintain and improve manufactured housing and ensure residents of manufactured home communities are provided information about their rights and opportunities to have a greater say in the future of their communities.
“I am grateful to all the advocates and industry stakeholders who worked together to pass this important legislation. Fostering housing stability is more important now than ever. Financial security and our children’s educational success begin with a safe roof overhead. Still, too many Virginians are currently at risk of losing the home they already own,” said House Appropriations Chair Torian. “Homeownership is central to building wealth, yet barriers to homeownership access and retention are major contributors to the racial wealth gap. Virginia needs a housing bill of rights so that every Virginian has the opportunity to achieve financial security and build wealth through homeownership.”
“Virginia must take action to protect homeowners from foreclosure during this economic crisis,” Sen. McClellan said. “This bill passed with bipartisan support to provide more tools and opportunities for homeowners to stay in their homes. Thank you to Del. Torian, The Virginia Poverty Law Center, HOME, and all the advocates who fought for this critical relief bill.”
“This is the first step toward finding ways to protect the sanctity of the American Dream and its deep tie with homeownership,” said Jay Speer, Executive Director at Virginia Poverty Law Center. “Thanks to this legislation, we will be able to curb the growing disparity in wealth and homeownership and move housing equity forward in the Commonwealth.”
“Our hope is that this bill will help to address the disparities we see in homeowner retention, especially for homeowners of color,” said Mariah Williams, Director of Research and Policy at Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Virginia. “We work with clients through our foreclosure prevention program who, if given more time and access to additional information through homeownership counseling, have the chance to protect their investment and future.”