Both the state Senate and state Assembly convened remotely Monday for special sessions to pass the legislation, a day after President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill which he had delayed approving for several days. As Common Dreams reported Monday, the president's delay could cost millions of people a full week in unemployment benefits, intensifying fears that families will struggle to make ends meet in the new year. Under New York's Covid-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to declare that they're facing a financial hardship due to lost income, increased medical or family care expenses, or inability to find employment due to the crisis.
A stunning 30% of Americans didn't make their housing payment for June - a figure that is likely going to ripple through the housing industry in coming months. According to a new survey by Apartment List, the rate is similar to May and shows that even though other industries are rebounding, the situation has not yet improved meaningfully in housing. These figures stood at 24% in April and 31% in May, before falling slightly to 30% in June. One third of the 30% in June made a partial payment, while two thirds made no payment at all. "Missed payment rates are highest for renters (32 percent), households earning less than $25,000 per year (40 percent), adults under the age of 30 (40 percent), and those living in high-density urban areas (35 percent). While the missed payment rate for mortgaged homeowners is just 3 percentage points lower than renters," the survey showed.
By David Dayen for The Intercept - A Texas jury’s recent decision to award over $5 million in damages and fees for the fraudulent foreclosure of a single home suggests that the big banks could have been on the hook for as much as $32 trillion — before the Justice Department and state attorneys general settled for $25 billion, or less than one-tenth of a penny on the dollar. In the trial in Harris County district court, the jury awarded Houston foreclosure victim. Mary Ellen and David Wolf $5.38 million on November 6, on the grounds that Wells Fargo Bank and Carrington Mortgage Services knowingly submitted false documents to kick them out of their home.
By Michele Oberholtzer for Occupy - It’s Ebay on a city scale this fall in Detroit, with 25,000 properties up for sale starting Tuesday, Oct. 5 in the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction. The largest known municipal foreclosure sale to date, the Detroit home sell-off could be a modern take on Manifest Destiny – luring would-be frontiersmen and speculators from across the world to try their hand at “buying Detroit.” But the fantasy of blank-slate real-estate is no truer now than it was in the days of forging West, because nearly a third of the properties being sold are occupied homes. Native Detroiters have little more to do with this auction than Native Americans had in the sanctioned theft of their land. Often, in fact, residents here are not even aware of the fact that their home is for sale.
By Senka Huskic in Occupy - Our Constitution contemplates a federal system of governing where states share in power that limits the federal government’s powers. Those powers which are not given to the federal government are reserved to the states. The Constitution contemplates each state will have sovereignty over its own territory. There is no core sovereignty more fundamental than that of the state to control the distribution of land within its borders. Typically, the federal Constitution and federal laws trump state constitutions and statutes. But state laws governing the distribution of land within the state are within the core sovereignty of the states and beyond the authority of Congress to regulate. The Supremacy Clause is very specific that only federal law, i.e. statutes and treaties enacted pursuant to the Constitution’s enumerated powers, are supreme.
Homeowners frustrated at being denied a meeting with California Attorney General Kamala Harris for over four years attended this weekend’s California Democrats State Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center. Harris, who is running for the Senate seat that will be vacated upon Barbara Boxer’s retirement at the end of 2016, was scheduled to deliver a stump speech to the LA County Young Democrats in the Grand Plaza on Saturday afternoon. Some of the foreclosure victims at Saturday’s protest were present for the much-heralded May 2011 launch of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. At that press conference, after identifying themselves as homeowner stakeholders, the foreclosure fighters were directed to a side room that Harris never addressed.
Los Angeles, CA - The way the mainstream media writes about foreclosure these days gives the uninformed reader the impression that the crisis is over and our country won that unfortunate uphill battle. The reality is different. Foreclosures are still happening all around the country. More importantly, a high percentage of those foreclosures are fraudulent, caused by rampant and systematic fraud on the part of banks, their industry accomplices, and those in office who are now settling with the perpetrators while treating the victims – the homeowners – as bare statistics. One of those homeowners is Lainey Hashorva, a woman who after fighting to keep her home for many years, recently received a foreclosure notice from Wells Fargo. Here is her story, similar to the stories of many who have entered this ring of fire.
President Obama will carry several legacies into his final two years in office: a long-sought health care reform, a fiscal stimulus that limited the impact of the Great Recession, a rapid civil rights advance for gay and lesbian Americans. But if Obama owns those triumphs, he must also own this tragedy: the dispossession of at least 5.2 million US homeowner families, the explosion of inequality, and the largest ruination of middle-class wealth in nearly a century. Though some policy failures can be blamed on Republican obstruction, it was within Obama’s power to remedy this one — to ensure that a foreclosure crisis now in its eighth year would actually end, with relief for homeowners to rebuild wealth, and to preserve Americans’ faith that their government will aid them in times of economic struggle.
Another group is blooming – one that is refusing to remain silent, refusing to helplessly watch what is happening to families around the country, and to our country as a whole. From this group I have learned that our lives are interconnected, and that every single step, every decision, can change the outcome of not only our personal lives but the lives of those we don’t even know. I have learned that hope can never be destroyed, even in the midst of the biggest and darkest fights we’re facing. The following is an interview with Maegan Donovan Nikolic and Carlos Marroquin, two people in California who lost their homes due to mortgage fraud and wrongful foreclosure – and who, in the aftermath, decided to stand up and demand justice. Their work is a great example of how all our communities should follow their lead, unite, and support each other.
On Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes made a landmark decision to authorize continued water shutoffs for unpaid water bills, leaving thousands of Detroiters without access to water. At the same time, and less reported on, some 20,000 Detroit residents stand to lose another basic human right — their housing — as the Wayne County Treasurer prepares to carry out mass tax foreclosures across the city. If Detroiters facing foreclosure knew they could buy their home for as little as $500, they’d jump at the chance. But local government does the bare minimum to inform those people who could benefit most. Foreclosure notices don’t even mention the auction, let alone the auction website.
Once upon a time, financing the purchase of a home with a mortgage loan, compared to today, was much simpler. After saving the customary 20% down payment, the borrower would meet with the local banker for a long-term, fixed-rate loan. Once income and character were investigated, qualified and then approved, the borrower signed a mortgage note, and gave a mortgage in exchange for a loan. A mortgage note is the personal promise to repay a loan. A mortgage (lien) collateralizes or secures the mortgage note. Foreclosure can force the sale of the collateral (home) to repay the debt. It was at the same local bank where the borrower made monthly loan payments for the life of the loan. If and when the borrower had a problem making a scheduled payment due to an unexpected expense or temporary hardship it wasn’t necessarily an earthshaking event.
The Occupy movement started on Wall Street and now its sibling, the grassroots movement to restore community wealth, has come to New York City. On Wednesday, a broad coalition of community activists joined with four allies on the New York City Council to draw attention to the epidemic of foreclosures and to call for immediate action to help rescue homeowners who are drowning in debt. At a press conference at City Hall, they released an eye-opening report, Thousands of Homeowners Still Drowning in Underwater Mortgages: How Toxic Loans Keep Fueling Foreclosures and the Need for Eminent Domain, designed to jump-start a campaign to address the problem. The report, sponsored by New York Communities for Change and the Mutual Housing Association of New York, reveals that tens of thousands of New York City homeowners are still at risk of foreclosure, because their mortgages are underwater and the banks aren't providing any relief.
The hardest part of battling eviction is the not knowing, Lavette Sealls said. “You’re always living on edge because you know eventually you might have to move,” she said. “You go on fighting as hard as you can.” The 58-year-old Hyde Park resident told her story to a crowd of more than 60 at a rally for affordable housing in Dorchester on Saturday. The day’s main event was the occupation of a vacant home owned by Fannie Mae, a symbolic step toward reclaiming a neighborhood plagued by rising housing costs that have led to foreclosures and evictions. “We’re making a demand here today that Fannie Mae create affordable housing,” Maria Christina Blanco shouted into a megaphone, receiving cheers. “We’re here to hold them to it.” A community organizer for City Life/Vida Urbana, which is part of a coalition that held the rally, Blanco said the event was about creating a home for a family who lost their Roxbury house after a foreclosure. Paul and Renée Adamson, the couple moving into the house, said they would risk eviction in order to make a statement: Housing is a human right.
Housing is a human right, but affordable housing nationally, is in short supply. There is a gentrification, displacement, and affordability crisis across America. Cincinnati author Alice Skirtz has identified it as “ECONOCIDE”. In over 90 US cities median rent is unaffordable and people struggle to pay for other expenses like food, utilities, healthcare, and childcare. Rents have been consistently on the rise since 2000, while wages stagnate. The housing foreclosure crisis has evolved into a renters’ crisis- pushing thousands of low-income families into the rental market. n June 6th, Homes for All/ Right To The City Alliance- launches a national report called-“Can’t Afford, Can’t Wait: The Rise of the Renter Nation”. In Cincinnati a panel discussion at SOS ART 2014, is The Peoples Coalition for Equality and Justice’s contribution to the national campaign- HOMES FOR ALL. We will explore the crisis in Cincinnati from boots on the ground of homelessness and displacement to the new national study.