By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — US Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is calling for more federal action to help people get mortgages, to stabilize neighborhoods in which property values are low.

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Casey’s letter to the newly formed US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urges the CFPB to fix the challenges that qualified borrowers are encountering in securing mortgages in areas with low property values.

Casey says that puts neighborhoods like Kensington at a disadvantage.

“As of 2009, 48 percent of Philadelphia homes were purchased for less than $60,000,” Casey noted today.

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Community activist Jamie Moffett pointed to a home they toured on East Westmoreland Street which was torched earlier this year by drug dealers.

“We’ve nicknamed them abandonminiums,” he said today.  “We’ve been turning them into owner-occupied homes.”

Casey wants the CFPB to better define the parameters of a “qualified” mortgage because, he says, it can be difficult to secure a mortgage for amounts less than $50,000 to $75,000.

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