Blog entries categorized under HPN Blog
Reflecting on the 2012 Election, I came away wondering why no candidate focused on the elephant in the room that has crushed our economy: Debt. The housing, consumer, and now student loan debt that Americans have taken on is unsustainable. Jobs and Poverty were both topics that were danced with but we can’t address either without talking about our collective debt and how it is imploding our economy.
Talk of jobs was prolific with little substance or real solutions. Meanwhile QE3 (quantitative easing 3) was unleashed on the American economy by Ben Bernanke to the tune of $40 billion a month from the US treasury. To put this number in perspective, the War in Afghanistan is costing two billion dollars per month. Imagine saddling Americans with the cost of 20 Afghan wars every single month. QE3 goes directly to the Wall Street banks that created this collapse, while blaming Americans who “bought more house than they could afford.” When 1200 square foot houses in rural Oregon were going for a quarter of a million dollars, families didn’t buy too much house.
Our office took a call this week from a sobbing mother of three. “We’re being evicted for the third time, and we’ve never made a late payment.” She was a hard working single mom, exhausted and distraught at the prospect of moving out of her rental and facing the costs and stress of moving her three children again. Lisa’s story is becoming increasingly familiar as rental properties are foreclosed on and tenants are often the last to know. In fact, a new study shows that 8 million children are impacted by foreclosures nationwide, 1/3 of them in rental situations. Eviction is not the only new challenge renters face in this housing market. As homeowners become displaced, they compete with renters, raising demand and prices for rental homes. As rental prices rise, low-income folks who were barely scraping by find themselves unable to pay rent and are forced to become houseless—maybe moving in with friends or family, a shelter, or being forced onto the streets. This hurts our houseless community members as our limited “safety net” strains to meet growing needs, leaving many without the basics to survive.
Project REconomy executive director Nancie Koerber and director of research Mark Thomas were recently in Detroit for a national conference of leaders calling for a foreclosure moratorium. In Detroit they gave witness to neighborhoods where the banks foreclose, evict, shut off utilities and walk away without even locking the homes. In Detroit, you can buy a home for $2500 to 5,000 because there are no buyers, no lending, and no jobs. The big bank foreclosure playbook becomes obvious as they too abandon the homes. In this interview with Nancie she shares how the experience impacted her and informed the work of Project REconomy.
What you need to know as a homeowner, renter, concerned community member, or friend of someone in foreclosure.
I don’t know how much longer I can pay on my mortgage, what should my first step be?
Get our Foreclosure eBook “The Lord of the Purse” and read the entire book. You may feel that parts of it don’t apply to you but each section was carefully written and chosen from hundreds of articles, books and research papers. It is about 95 pages. Then watch the free streaming video on our website (58 minutes).
Occupy Wall Street has chosen foreclosures as one of its priority issues to take grassroots action on in our communities. There are many tactics being proposed and tried. Project REconomy offers recommendations for the movement in Oregon based on our research, advice from our attorney network, and our experience fighting foreclosures in the state. We hope this helps protect activists, support the movement, and bring about strategic actions and powerful outcomes.
Note: These recommendations are specific to Oregon, a non-judicial state for foreclosures. They may or may not apply in other states, please check to see what laws apply in your area.