Duke suggests renting option could ease foreclosures, help housing market

There should be several redevelopment options for communities with high foreclosure rates, including "rental housing, lease-purchase and converting owners to renters to avoid vacancies," Duke said. 

"It is not sufficient, given current economic conditions and the significant needs of our neighborhoods, to do things the way we have always done them," she said. "Including rental options among the mix of stabilization strategies makes particular sense at a time of high unemployment."

Foreclosures increased nearly 4 percent in July to 325,229, a nearly 10 percent decrease from the same period in 2009. July was the 17th straight month that foreclosure activity exceeded 300,000, according to RealtyTrac, a firm that tracks foreclosures. 

Duke said while the housing market has experienced a high level of bad loans, unemployment and the nation's slowly recovering economy have sapped consumer confidence and are factors exacerbating the problem. 

"As delinquencies and foreclosures continue to grow, they will hinder the ability of communities to heal and ultimately to thrive,” Duke said.