Thank you, Frank (Borchert). Good morning. Welcome to Day Two. Thank you again for coming. And I want to thank Keith Hennessey for agreeing to speak this morning.
Yesterday morning, I spoke of the challenges American families and communities are facing in the housing market. Even over the last twenty-four hours, markets around the world have experienced a jolt. We have heard from the Fed Chair that we need to remain sharp and vigilant. Even this morning, we see world financial markets coming together as the Federal Reserve Board has ordered a half percentage point cut in the interest rate.
We are living through an extraordinary period in our nation's economic history. This is a decisive moment. This is a moment for vision and commitment. The decisions we make today ...at this juncture in time...will have long-term effects. This is a moment when the tide of events can be turned by our actions, turned because we have the will and wisdom to unite in partnership.
As we leave here today, our nation needs your leadership, creativity, and commitment. We now have more tools to help homeowners keep their homes...more tools to help communities struggling with a slow market and large numbers of vacancies.
Yesterday, we heard much about how to best use those tools. You responded during the panel discussions, breakout sessions, and in other conversations throughout the day. There was some very important feedback.
For example, we heard that cities and counties receiving large National Stabilization Program (NSP) grants should focus on capacity as a core component of their action plan and execution strategy.
We heard about a comprehensive approach being taken in Boston which combines prevention, intervention, and reclamation to help homeowners and the affected communities.
We heard about innovative partnerships already forming, like the National Community Stabilization Trust.
We heard several servicing experts talk about the challenges they face in working across different localities.
We heard about state-wide approaches California has taken to date, encouraging local/regional partnerships when developing action plans for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. This practice could be especially helpful to adjacent communities with smaller grants.
We discussed the importance of consumer education and financial literacy for preparing the next round of first-time home buyers, and collaborating with state and community programs in this arena.
And several people from state organizations said they wanted to work on state Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) similar to the one with Minnesota. This is very helpful because these arrangements can assist is to take a big step forward to reach people in need.
Yesterday afternoon, I spoke with some of you informally. I was very encouraged by your positive feedback. There was a tremendous energy in the group...the kind of energy that comes when ideas become vision, and vision breeds confidence. There is a dire need for cooperation and partnership. Many of you affirmed that view. In fact, there were many connections made yesterday that will lead to meaningful partnerships.
So, again, I want to note something about this audience. There are hundreds of policy-makers, administrators, community leaders, and other government officials here. This is an unprecedented gathering of leadership at all levels of government. We need the participation of every single one of you.
At such a time, with monumental challenges, our best response is to pool our knowledge, our experience, and our talents together, to create dynamic and lasting partnerships that best use the tools available to help Americans keep their homes.
The most valuable thing that can come out of difficulty is the resolution to work together, to make a positive difference in the future. I believe we saw such resolution yesterday. I am encouraged by the results.
This conference is but a beginning. We need to continue our work together into the future. At HUD, we have already agreed with our partner organizations to build a concrete platform for further cooperation. We will continue to convene with our partners following these sessions. We need there to be a clear path forward. There must be a sense of urgency. Let's keep the accelerator down. And let's all travel down the road together.
We also will be holding regional summits in other communities. I am pleased that we already have summits scheduled in Los Angeles on October 10th, Columbus on October 14th and Orlando on October 16th.
We have more time together today. We will hear more about the Hope for Homeowners Program. And Keith Hennessey from the White House will share his thoughts.
Today, we can strengthen our commitments to address these issues head-on. We can forge new alliances to address these issues with our collective strength. And we can remember that the good work we do together helps our neighbors and our communities.
Good luck and thank you for all you are doing.