A community approach requires the same practical approach of the homeowner approach
Resist playing the blame game - against distressed homeowners, politicians and even the lenders themselves especially those doing their jobs at the local level and that have nothing to do with bad practices of the past
Don't assume lender has right to foreclose
Local representatives should not use the excuse that the foreclosure and economic crisis is not a local issue.
Research where your property stands and where your community stands. Don't let the negative message of Wall St affect your behavior and create a negative cycle of not spending or maintaining your property and community.
If you are affected by a neighboring foreclosure become informed and help address the issue for the community's sake as well as your neighbor. A phone call or letter to your representative BEFORE a property becomes vacant may be the push your local representative needs.
Make the financial crisis a local issue not just a Wall St and stock market issue.
If you are in foreclosure reach out and engage people about your situation and how it fits in with the big picture if you are comfortable doing so. Hopefully, we can be the start of a positive chain reaction rather than the albatross that Wall St makes us out to be.
Review data and reports that can help you build your case and a case for your community
You can review publicly available mortgage data here: http://www.foreclosure-response.org/maps_and_data/needs_1.html
Provides various reports and tools for housing policy and to address the foreclosure issue
Review links below for local and custom reports and data.
First, we need to review the current political and economic climate to some extent. This is foreclosure intelligence in the sense that we need to research and take action, not that one group is smarter than another which is the tone of current debate. It is an effort to get away from the distressed homeowner vs responsible homeowner; employed vs unemployed; conservative vs liberal approach. We do need to focus on Wall St vs Main St though and how it is being manipulated. The only way is to understand what has happened and whose interests are being served by looking at the impact the financial crisis is having on US individually and in OUR communities.
The hope is that we get beyond the politics and the blame game that the media and the parties keep shoving down our throats to keep things on track for their agenda with no accountability in the short or long run.
Why do the media and politicians keep up their bickering and drag us in with the cable/radio/campaign wars? In my opinion so we can have another boom/bust cycle where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What is different is that OUR COUNTRY, much like a "third world" country, is being run by those who stand to get richer with their global partnerships in the name of globalization to supposedly "spread democracy and so we stay #1". This is being done at the expense of OUR democracy which is fading and putting our nation on life support. At the same time global citizens wonder if we are spreading democracy while we fall in all the the other rankings such as education, health care etc. We should not target the honest business person or corporation or it's employees but those that will end up with hundreds of millions of dollars as a windfall either from bailouts or other policy rescue or the companies that end up successfully lobbying and surviving with monopoly control while others go by the way side.
Instead of working together and finding solutions in our national interest the policy discussion becomes a side show where the goal is to be fair and balanced for the powers that be while the average person gets steamrolled into submission.
We are NOT THERE YET and our democracy is still alive if we recall the 2008 election and from the perspective of the union and worker struggles in Wisconsin and other states and evidenced by homeowners of every stripe - worker, business owner, low income or formerly higher income - standing up for themselves and helping each other with their advocates across the country.
Still, we need to look back and identify those who are only looking for their own interest and the interest of the lenders that have abused our national economy the past 10 years.
The American consumer and homeowner also share in the blame but they should not be the scapegoats. The character of the American people and it's residents did not diminish in 2000 and suddenly hit rock bottom in 2007/2008. We should understand the difference between different types of foreclosures and their impact on different areas. Our situation and fate should not be dismissed by simplistic arguments that homeowners used "liar loans" or that lenders and government can't do anything due to "uncertainty" and our only option is to depend on investors for the next five years.
Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show, once said WE all work together and
live together in so many words unlike the way Wall St,
politicians and the media portray us and themselves behave. If
Wall St can benefit then homeowners should have the opportunity to
make their situation right and lenders have the
obligation to make us whole if they
abused the law and the economy for their benefit.
Otherwise, homeowners, community leaders and the lenders need to come together for a reasonable settlement. A settlement dictated by Wall St and politicians in current environment is not acceptable.
State Attorney Generals are currently considering a deal that not only would settle for a fraction of losses but will grant corporations and/or their executives immunity from any further action!
We can re-assert the rule of law and our Constitution by saving the families and homes that can be saved with the aid of a responsible government and with a new focus on OUR economy by lenders and Wall St. With a strong base, communities can come together to solve the foreclosure crisis while creating REAL community wealth.
The bailouts and the first wave of foreclosures came in 2007/2008 at the culmination of a decade in which we waged multiple wars and allowed jobs to go overseas while ignoring our domestic economy, with diminished tax revenue and worse, not accounting for wars which contributed most to current deficit aside from bailouts. Wall St went to the government asking for TRILLIONS of dollars to avert a disaster as it created a panic in the middle of an election just as we were winning the war on terror. Three years later we are STILL trying to avert disaster after Wall St made its profits. We cannot afford health insurance or any kind of a safety net and we are being told WE ALONE have to be responsible for the deficit and need to suffer austerity measures while corporate executives and their political connections live high on the hog.
We have to ask ourselves does any of this make sense?
It was clear there were "bad loans", in fact worse with over 100% ltv and lower guidelines, since 2000 and we saw speculation rise between 2003 and 2007, approximately. Wall St and the government were warned of the effects of deregulation since the last crisis, the S&L crisis of the 80's when many Wall St executives went to jail. Ironically, Wall St executives are now using this argument so that they don't go to jail while the S&L cases were seen as more complex to prosecute.
What is different now?
It seems that banks are now "too big to fail". The current crop of the Republican party has no problem fighting for the rights of the Wall St elite at the expense of everyone else ignoring the real national interests of the American people. Democrats are caught in the money game that constant campaigning requires and seem to be compromising away everything they stood for.
Coinciding with the Wall St "crisis" you had the corporate financing of fake grass roots efforts such as some in the the Tea Party which became the media focus for a year instead of the economy.
At the root of the real crisis which is the foreclosure crisis and the crisis on Main St is that we don't seem to have the lobbying influence that Wall St and even foreign investors have. Corporations are now considered "persons" by a right wing court and can demolish any grass root efforts or even Democratic party efforts if only measured by financial power. Up to now the true scale of the foreclosure crisis has been ignored except when Wall St and their beneficiaries in government want to claim there is too much uncertainty and nothing can be done. There are millions of foreclosures the past few years nationwide yet locally there may only be a handful except in extreme cases. Do the "millions of foreclosures" give Wall St an excuse to sit on it's profits while it keeps them off it's books and even as they hoard money for their pending lawsuits?
What we need to remember is that the Founding Fathers and the American revolutionaries, as well as others who have come out victorious against elite oppressors, did not have the money and the armies and we still have the advantage of power of the vote and our Constitution.
Just as homeowners are "discovering" their rights when they learn the law and challenge what the lenders and even lawyers say and do we all have to make sure our government is representative of us and abides by the Constitution whether or not we are outspent by billionaires and their lobbyists.
Hopefully, the approaches recommended from the foreclosure experience and the interaction with various advocates will help us make the case to our representatives for a real solution that can save us from five more years of suffering and wasted opportunities as in the past decade.
With the data and information tools that that can be put together the individual homeowner, non-profit or local, state government can make the case against the Wall St corporate logic that is abusing us and is a threat to our nation.
Current policies are forcing homeowners AND communities to be trapped in toxic loans. Wall St is depleting our community wealth while choking off our economies by not lending to homeowners, consumers and small business. Wall St is not resolving foreclosures to validate the irresponsible homeowner attack and not be held accountable.
We can argue which party or which president is to blame but where does that get us? We need to look at the facts of how we got here and change the focus from Wall St to Main St in ECONOMIC and COMMUNITY WEALTH TERMS, not divisive culture war terms.
It's time for all of us to engage our representatives and let OUR Congress and President know that we demand representation and ask them who's interest they serve regardless of party.
Reports and Data
More links and information on how to use reports will be provided as we go along