Our economy will continue to suffer and consumer confidence will never return if we do not help hard-working middle-class families navigate their mortgage hardships.

While home prices are going up and foreclosures are going down, our slow-moving housing recovery is still hurting hard-working middle-class families across our district.

In California, during the worst part of the recession, more than 34 percent of homeowners with mortgages were considered “underwater” because they owed more on their homes than they were worth. Many communities in our district were especially hard hit when the housing market burst.

The largest asset most middle class families have is their home, and our economy will continue to suffer and consumer confidence will never return if we do not help hard working families navigate through their mortgage hardships.

That is why I am fighting for significant steps to be taken that will help keep people in their homes, and get back above water.

All homeowners should have the opportunity to refinance their mortgages while rates remain low. On average, this would put $3,000 back into the pockets of middle-class families. This would equal a $50 billion a year economic stimulus – something our economy could certainly use.

In addition, we must have a significant principal reduction plan in place for underwater homeowners. This would allow homeowners to get their mortgages reappraised so they more accurately reflect the market value of the house. This keeps people in their home longer and keeps neighborhood values up.

We will not be able to grow our economy and strengthen our middle class without fixing our housing situation. That is why I will continue working on policies that reduce foreclosures, strengthen our housing market and improve home values. This is good for homeowners, good for communities and good for our economy.