Virginia, Florida, Louisiana Senators Introduce Resolution Urging Mortgage Relief for Homeowners with Contaminated Drywall
~ Bipartisan measure builds on efforts to assist 1,300 homeowners in 26 states ~
Nov 04 2009
Contact: Kevin Hall (202-224-2023)
WASHINGTON – Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb joined four of their Senate colleagues from Florida and Louisiana in introducing a Resolution today that urges banks and mortgage lenders to work with the estimated 1,300 homeowners in 26 states who are dealing with health and safety issues linked to the use of contaminated drywall, including at least 51 Virginia families, primarily in the southeastern region of the Commonwealth. The Resolution encourages banks and mortgage servicers to provide temporary forbearance on mortgage payments to help affected families afford the costs of alternative housing since many of their homes are uninhabitable. [For full text of the resolution, please go to: www.webb.senate.gov/pdf/Resolution_Drywall.pdf]
Today’s legislation follows months of work by Senators Warner and Webb to assist affected Virginians. In October, the Senators asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offer temporary relocation support and other emergency assistance, and they also contacted the IRS, Treasury Department, Small Business Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development seeking various forms of assistance. In April, Warner and Webb worked with colleagues to secure $8 million in funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to determine the environment, health, and structural impacts of affected homes.
“Many of these homeowners have been forced out of their homes and some now face a financial crisis in paying for alternative housing for their families,” Senator Warner said. “This Resolution demonstrates a bipartisan effort to seek basic fairness for these families by delaying foreclosure proceedings on homes constructed with contaminated drywall, at least until the CPSC drywall tests are complete and publicly available.”
“Today’s bipartisan resolution is another vehicle to get much-needed relief for Virginia’s families affected by contaminated drywall,” said Senator Webb. “It is premature to burden these homeowners with the financial hardship of foreclosure on uninhabitable homes until all proper investigations are completed.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is leading a group including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and several state departments of health on this issue.
Last week, the combined federal task force investigating the issue reported it had found elevated levels of two elements in some Chinese-made drywall: sulfur and strontium. CPSC is conducting additional scientific tests to find the connection between these elevated levels and any reported health symptoms or corrosion effects, and results of the additional tests will be released later this month.