NORWALK, Conn., June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to spur the expansion of affordable housing, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) yesterday co-sponsored the Southern Connecticut Regional Housing and Economic Development Summit, where top public officials, housing activists, and financial institutions discussed recent housing-related successes and plans for the future.
Participants included Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT); Mayor Harry Rilling (Norwalk); Pastor Carl McCluster, Managing Director of F.R.E.E.D.O.M.; Evonne Klein, CT Commissioner of Housing; Bryan Garcia, President, Connecticut Green Bank; William Callion, Executive Director, Faith CDC; Karl Kilduff, President and CEO, CT Housing Finance Authority; State Rep. Matthew Lesser, Chair, CT State Legislature Banking Committee; and other elected officials, administrators, pastors, and community leaders.
At the event, Lawrence H. Parks, Senior Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs at FHLBank San Francisco, noted that while the Connecticut economy has shown continued signs of recovery since the Great Recession, the wealth divide is also growing between the top one percent and the bottom 99 percent. This is a factor in the erosion of the state's middle class, a demographic that is usually seeking to become homeowners.
"One of the chief ways to build the wealth of Connecticut's middle class—to bridge the wealth divide—is to help our hardworking middle-class families afford homes in their communities," Mr. Parks said. "We need to bolster local industries, particularly those with high-wage jobs, so middle-class families can have more access to affordable homes."
Mr. Parks said that FHLBank San Francisco is working with the Aspen Institute to identify a series of ways to help more families find and keep high-wage jobs, putting them in better position to purchase homes.
"We understand the key to increasing the nation's homeownership rate and improving the overall success of the American economy is to make sure we are protecting and expanding the middle class," Mr. Parks said. "We have met inspiring people who are working successfully to help more Americans find high-wage jobs. We have also seen the daunting challenges of addressing the growing gap between rich and poor. This experience has reaffirmed our commitment to helping to support community economic development, create more affordable housing—and beyond that—to do our part to protect a strong middle class where families have the buying power to afford a decent home."
Ms. Klein said that Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is placing a priority on expanding affordable housing. She cited successes at curtailing homelessness for veterans and steps toward ending all homelessness in the state by 2020. Rep. Himes talked about the need for more collaboration with faith groups to better use underutilized property that can be turned into affordable housing.
"We had a gathering of public and private sector officials who are committed to have a real dialogue about how we can expand affordable housing in our communities," said Carl McCluster, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church. "We held engaging conversations about the future and how we can improve the quality of life for the next generation, and a key component is making affordable housing available. We are grateful to the FHLBank San Francisco for contributing the critical intellectual capital needed to create and stimulate economic development in Southern Connecticut."
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgages to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. FHLBank San Francisco also funds community programs that help members create affordable housing and promote community economic development. FHLBank San Francisco members are headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada and include commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions.
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SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco