Yesterday, President Obama announced a $75 billion program to address the challenge that foreclosures pose to our collective economic future with an orientation towards helping families stay in their homes. But the provisions in the President’s proposals won’t be implemented for weeks and months. Between now and then there are still 2.3 million families in the country facing foreclosure proceedings. And one new family joins them every 13 seconds. The reality is that everyone is affected by this crisis; the foreclosure epidemic is at the heart of our economic meltdown.
So, today, Thursday Feb 19, ACORN members and community activists in seven cities are formally launching the HomeStaying Campaign, in which families facing eviction for foreclosure will announce plans to stay in their homes, and Home Defender teams will stand in solidarity with those homeowners.
The Home Defender Teams are local neighbors and community activists prepared to mobilize on short notice to peacefully help defend a family’s right to stay in their homes until a fair solution to the crisis is put into place by the new Administration. Over the coming weeks, people in 24 cities are going to be taking part in this campaign. The New York Times did a great story yesterday about a Home Defenders training session in New York City over the weekend.
Homeowners who live in neighborhoods with one foreclosure see their housing values drop by 2%. For homeowners in communities hit hard by this crisis it is much worse. The abandoned homes become magnets for crime and vagrants, further destabilizing communities, to say nothing of what happens to the families that have to go through the process of losing their homes.
In many cases the people facing foreclosure are hard-working people who played by the rules their entire lives, but were caught up in circumstances beyond their control or were taken advantage of by their lender.
The Obama Administration’s proposal contains five key ingredients without which any proposal will not succeed.
Lifts the unfair ban on judicial modifications for primary residences
Requires foreclosure prevention protocols from recipients of taxpayer assistance
Fixes the “Hope for Homeowners” program by streamlining and broadening eligibility requirements
Utilizes $75 billion to facilitate mortgage modifications to keep homeowners in their homes
Strengthens Fannie and Freddie to expand access to affordable refinancing
It is inevitable that elements of Wall Street and their enablers in Congress will try to weaken or gut provisions that subscribe to these principles. We cannot let that happen.
ACORN’s Foreclosure Campaign is fundamentally about saving the American Dream, about living up to our best visions of ourselves as Americans, about reaching out to stand in solidarity with each other, and, inch by inch, making this a stronger nation.