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by Preservation Action
October 17, 2007

In last week’s legislative update, Preservation Action reported on the Neighborhood Reclamation and Revitalization Program Act of 2007 introduced by Representative Brian Higgins (D-NY) in the House of Representatives and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) in her chamber. The bill seeks to remedy the problems caused by vacant housing in depopulated urban areas, and grew from Representative Higgins’ experience in Buffalo, NY. Many of the bill’s initial cosponsors, including the former First Lady, are preservation advocates.

Preservation Action looked into the thinking and leadership behind the bill, and we’re now working with Representative Higgins’ office and other groups on development of the underlying pro-preservation idea: sorting out how to revitalize neighborhoods with extensive vacant housing stock. Our opportunity is huge: bill leadership wants to work with the preservation community to come up with legislation to solve the problem. And within our membership, we’ve got many groups already working with cities to revitalize urban neighborhoods by rehabilitating urban housing stock.

Now is a good time to pool our examples of effective pro-preservation vacant housing programs to aid in improving the vacant housing bill. It’s also a good time to work with your local press on publicizing success stories of vacant housing revitalization.

Who is considering the bill:

House cosponsors:

Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA, and on the Historic Preservation Caucus), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY, HP Caucus member), Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), Rep. Michael McNulty (D-NY), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH).

The bill is currently in the House and Senate committees that authorize HUD programs. That’s House Financial Services (Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee) and Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs (Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development).

House: (Barney Frank (D-MA) is chair of the Financial Services Committee)

Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN)
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. Charles A. Wilson (D-OH)
Rep. Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT)
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT)
Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY)
Rep. John Campbell (R-CA)
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)

Senate: Christopher Dodd (D-CT) is Chair of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee

Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development

Sen. Charles Schumer, Chair (D-NY)
Sen. Mike Crapo Ranking Member (R-ID)
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Sen. John Sununu (R-NH)

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