How refreshing – a glimmer of light from the dark and depressed housing sector!

How refreshing – a glimmer of light from the dark and depressed housing sector!

This glimmer comes not from some statistical uptick in the national housing market, but from real life people working at the local level to help hard hit families save their homes. This pragmatic project is a joint effort by a nonprofit lender named Boston Community Capital and a housing advocacy group named City Life/ Vida Urbana. In an innovative twist, these two begin at what would seem to be the end of a family’s homeownership experience: foreclosure.

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Families across the country have seen the value of their homes plummet, leaving them holding a mortgage that can be twice as expensive as their house is worth. Most big lenders coldly refuse to renegotiate the terms of payment with these families, instead foreclosing and filing eviction notices. Intransigent lenders take a family’s house – but what then? As a Boston Community Capital official notes, “banks really do not want to hold on to these properties, because they don’t know how to manage them, don’t know what to do with them.”

Aha, an opportunity for a fair solution! City Life activists rally public support against the bank for producing yet another vacant house in the neighborhood, while Boston Community Capital quickly offers the bank what it most needs: a buyer. The nonprofit itself buys the house at close to its real value, then provides a new, affordable mortgage to the family that was about to be shoved out. The bank gets off the hook, the family stays in its home, and the community retains its vitality.

While Wall Street and Washington have dilly-dallied and fumbled and stumbled on America’s foreclosure crisis, local people are finding some answers that actually work for ordinary folks. For information on this solution, contact Boston Community Capital: www.bostoncommunitycapital.org.

“Finding in Foreclosure a Beginning, Not an End,” www.nytimes.com, March 21, 2010.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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