Waters calls for funds to rehab foreclosed property

"Foreclosures are not only a tragedy for the families that lose their homes, they are a calamity for entire neighborhoods," she said. "Foreclosed properties are often boarded up, stripped, and vandalized, beginning the process of turning decent communities into blighted ones. Foreclosures cause housing prices to drop, hurting other homeowners as well as entire cities and towns."

The project would expand on a previous program, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which also provided federal funds to help rehabilitate areas affected by foreclosed residential properties.

Since 2008, that program has handed out $7 billion to help rehab more than 100,000 housing units, according to Waters's office. And her new bill would more than double that amount over the next three years, supporting an estimated 191,000 jobs while tackling at least 150,000 properties.

The bill has attracted 19 Democratic co-sponsors but likely faces difficult uphill climb in the Republican-controlled House. Waters introduced similar legislation in the last Congress.