How do they do it? How does an industry develop outrageously usurious products, seduce gullible homebuyers wanting what they have been told is the American Dream into loans that should have been illegal, cause the predictable collapse of the international economy, then convince regular folks into believing that it was the victims, not these predators, that were the perpetrators of this outrage?
But, folks, that is what we’ve got.
The unemployment rate has been more than 8% for some three years. Property values have tanked, blowing massive amounts of middle class equity (the closest they will ever get to wealth), and wages have been devalued further.
Why are we not raising fundamental questions about what we as Americans mean by the “pursuit of happiness,” the “[promotion of] the general welfare,” or that we are all “created equal?” Could it really mean that we allow many hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes?
Well, that’s what’s happening out there. Community Action, always reliable in standing up for justice, developed a fairly comprehensive effort to save homeowners from the throes of losing their most precious possession. The services include: foreclosure counseling; advocacy with lenders on behalf of borrowers; assistance with processing applications for Pennsylvania’s 30-year-old Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP); and a program in both Lehigh and Northampton counties’ courts that “diverts” borrowers in the foreclosure process to a conciliation hearing between the borrower and the lender to try to work out a deal.
And, now, even that program is threatened by the spending cuts that radicals in the Congress andPennsylvania legislature have pushed through. The Corbett Administration killed HEMAP. And the $120,000 we expected for foreclosure assistance from the feds ended June 30.
To homeowners in danger of losing their homes, the message is clear: tough.
Well, not so fast. Maybe the counties will save us. Watch over the next few weeks as we make the case.
Meanwhile, we continue to fight to restore HEMAP and the federal funding. You can help, of course, by contacting anyone in an elected office. Tell them you don’t buy the big lie I talked about in the beginning of this post. Tell them you do, on the other hand, believe that one nation, under God, does, indeed, stand for promoting the general welfare.