Defending America's Housing Dream

04/22/2011 05:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream, and like all Americans, Latinos work toward that dream and a stable financial future. In recent years, however, problems in the housing market have made the dream impossible for many Latino families. In today's tough economic and political climate, some politicians blame first-time homebuyers for the foreclosure crisis. Federal regulators are considering exorbitant down payments as a requirement for buying a home, and too many local governments are implementing restrictive ordinances designed to keep immigrants from accessing affordable and quality housing options. At this rate, the dream of homeownership may never come true for millions of Latinos.

Now is the time for us to stop this nonsense and stand up for our rights as homeowners and renters. The time for blaming is over, and the time for action has arrived. That is why the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is launching the Home for Good Campaign (H4G) -- to refocus America's energy toward solving the housing crisis.

By signing the H4G petition, we are demanding that Congress and President Obama put a stop to wrongful foreclosures, end discrimination, invest in affordable housing, and, most importantly, protect the American dream of homeownership. With your support, NCLR will ask Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury, to heed these three simple, but important commitments.

Commitment One: Stop wrongful foreclosures -- they only exacerbate the problem. Foreclosing on a property benefits neither the homeowner nor the surrounding community. That is why NCLR is seeking renewed federal focus on a national strategy that will prevent needless foreclosures -- one that will help Latino families stay in their homes and create a viable plan for them to pay their mortgages.

Commitment Two: Protect all affordable housing options. The rising number of families unable to buy a home necessitates a greater need for affordable, high-quality rental options. This is especially urgent since less affordable housing is being built, which prevents many low-income families from finding housing that fits into their budgets in safe and desirable neighborhoods.

Commitment Three: Keep homeownership available to all. At one point, owning a home was an achievable reality for most Americans, especially the middle class. However, during this recession, more Americans have fallen out of the middle class and the dream of homeownership has remained out of reach for too many.

We need our government to work with us to ensure that homeownership remains obtainable. Owning a home should be a likelihood for all Americans, not a privilege reserved for the rich. Please join us today and help ensure that homeownership and affordable housing remain an achievable part of the American Dream.

Ask Sec. Geithner to give us real solutions to the housing crisis, please sign NCLR's petition.