BOTH DEMOCRATIC presidential candidates have spoken at length about the subprime mortgage crisis, offering up detailed plans on how they plan to help people stay in their homes.

But Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rarely speak about other housing problems that affect urban areas, such as the decline in money for public housing or how to combat homelessness.

"The foreclosure crisis is obviously very serious, but the housing crisis in the city predated the foreclosure crisis," said Ed Schwartz, of the Institute for the Study of Civic Values.

Both Clinton and Obama offer housing proposals on their Web sites. In addition to her mortgage plan, which she announced in Philadelphia, Clinton lists housing priorities in her poverty plan and her "urban agenda." Obama does the same in his poverty plan and his family plan. But experts said that they haven't heard the candidates address many housing issues in depth.

Beyond foreclosures, experts say, Philadelphia is grappling with a lack of money for public housing, limited resources for community development and a chronic homeless problem.

"I don't see anybody standing out in a particular way," said Sister Mary Scullion, of the homeless aid group Project HOME. "We've invited all three candidates to come to Project HOME and talk about the issues of housing and homelessness."

So far, none has responded.

Asked for specifics about Obama's homeless program, his campaign pointed to his plans to support homeless veterans and related housing initiatives. The Clinton campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Schwartz said that under President Bush, Philly has lost federal dollars from a number of programs that aid housing. He said that there's less funding to build public housing and fewer Section-8 housing vouchers to assist low-income renters and homeowners.

"The federal government under Bush has pretty much attempted to abandon housing," Schwartz said. "The number of affordable housing units has plummeted in Philadelphia."

Scullion agreed, saying, "There's definitely been a hit on housing programs for low-income people."

She noted that after the implosion of public-housing high-rise towers in the city, the same number of units were never rebuilt.

Schwartz stressed that this is a problem that Philadelphia can't handle without federal aid.

"There is no way for a city to assume the financial responsibility of helping people who need housing get it with the resources at its disposal," he said.

Peter Tatian, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said that another issue not being discussed is affordable rental housing.

"If we're not talking about affordable rental housing, we're missing a piece of the fallout from the mortgage crisis," he said, noting that reasonable rentals are a key part of an urban-housing plan. "There's always going to be need for affordable rental housing. We know there's huge waiting lists for public housing." *


* FORECLOSURE CRISIS: Wants to enact a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and ask lenders to freeze interest rates on subprime mortgages for five years. Would require mortgage brokers to be licensed by the federal government. Plans to create a $30 billion fund to help states.

* AFFORDABLE HOMES: Has introduced legislation to create a $1 billion fund to support local housing trust funds. Housing trust funds help create and maintain affordable housing units.

* PUBLIC HOUSING: Pledges to reform the HOPE IV program, started by President Bill Clinton to revitalize public housing. It has suffered funding cuts under Bush. Supports more money for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program, which provide money to cities for housing and neighborhood revitalization.

* HOMELESSNESS: Clinton's homeless plans focus on veterans. She would establish a pilot program on homeless prevention for vets, and expand rental assistance for vets.


* FORECLOSURE CRISIS: Promises to establish penalties for fraudulent lenders. Would create a $10 billion foreclosure-prevention fund and a $10 billion fund to aid state and local governments hurt by the mortgage crisis.

Would require better disclosure about mortgages to home-buyers. Offers to provide a 10 percent mortgage tax credit for people who don't itemize their taxes.

* AFFORDABLE HOMES: Would create a trust fund to pay for housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.

* PUBLIC HOUSING: Would work to restore Bush administration cuts to public housing funding. Would provide more funding to HOPE IV. Also plans to restore CDBG funding.

* HOMELESSNESS: Pledges to expand housing programs for homeless veterans, as well as counseling and support programs already available.

His campaign said his housing and job programs also will help combat homelessness. *