Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The Longmont Humane Society is about $250,000 shy of the amount it needs to make its mortgage payment and avoid foreclosure.  Executive Director, Liz Smokowski says the payment due November 30 is just over $772,000.  "We've raised just over $510,000 thus far," Smokowski said. "We are having some conversations with some other major donors and very optimistic that we will be able to make this November 30 payment."

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Financial reformers seeking new rules beyond the range of the Dodd-Frank law haven’t had much to cheer about this year. The chances of Congress passing new regulations—OK, passing anything—look bleak, and the Obama Administration wants to simply finish implementing the last set of reforms. But reformers are playing a longer game, biding their time until the conditions are ripe for a dam burst. That could happen sooner than you think. High-profile champions for reform are gradually bending regulators to their will, and a pile-up of big bank abuses have eroded Wall Street’s reputation in Washington.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

A top former U.S. banking regulator is criticizing her former colleagues, saying they should not have backed away from tougher mortgage-market rules required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.  In a comment letter sent to banking regulators, Sheila Bair, former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., criticized regulators’ decision to scale back a proposal to impose tougher standards on the mortgage-securities market.  In August, six regulators — including the FDIC and Federal Reserve — reworked proposed rules requiring issuers of mortgage securities to retain 5% of the credit risk on their books. The regulators created a wide exemption for “qualified residential mortgages” that will cover most of the loans being made today.

Monday, November 4th, 2013

The Housing Justice Foundation is a non-profit organization in West Palm Beach, Florida, dedicated to finding alternatives to foreclosures.

We are committed to telling the truth about predatory lending, fraud in the mortgage securitization process and fraud in loan documentation.

Rather than a solution to the housing crisis, foreclosures are a blunt, transient fix to a complex problem. Foreclosures destroy families, neighborhoods, and force home values down, hurting the entire community.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Americans have lost faith in their government because they know elected officials are owned by the corporations that fund their campaigns. There are so very few voices left in America who can speak out to defend consumers, much less any in positions of power or influence who are willing to do so.  At some point in time, Americans will wake up and recognize it’s not Dem v. Repub, it’s Us v. Them. And the “them” are the banks and corporations that have corrupted both the Dems and the Repubs. Things are going to get real difficult here in this country. And it’s not going to be because our neighbors didn’t want to work hard or provide for their families…it’s because the government failed in it’s primary purpose….protecting The People.

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Tenants Together is a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and advanci ng the rights of California tenants to safe, decent and affordable housing. As California’s only statewide renters’ rights organization, Tenants Together works to improve the lives of California’s tenants through education, organizing, impact litigation a nd advocacy.

In 2011, Tenants Together continued to lead efforts to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis on tenants. In addition to our policy work, Tenants Together engaged in extensive outreach to tenants in foreclosed properties, with members going door - to - door to educate neighbors about their rights. Tenants Together members in the city of Merced passed the Central Valley’s first tenant protection law. The law bans post - foreclosure evictions of tenants without cause.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Families who face the threat of losing their home through illegal and unethical practices have a new watch-dog alliance on their side. The event, facilitated by California Homeowner Bill of Rights Collaborative (HBOR), held at the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, brought together Housing Navigators, People Acting in Community Together (PACT), Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley (NHSSV), Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERACA), alongside trained community leaders to discuss what needs to be done to better protect homeowners.

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
The Take Back Your Home Coalition and the undersigned organizations write to encourage the Foreclosure Task Force to do more to help homeowners in and at risk of foreclosure in Prince George’s County. The Take Back Your Home Coalition is a group of community organizations that address foreclosure issues in Prince George’s County, including Housing Options & Planning Enterprises, Inc., the Public Justice Center, the Coalition for Homeownership Preservation of Prince George’s County, the Was hington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Take Back Your Home of the American University Washington College of Law. The Take Back Your Home Coalition’s goal is to empower citizens affected by foreclosure to preserve their homes an d communities through a combination of grassroots organizing, outreach, housing counseling, and legal education.
Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Boston Community Capital plans to use a $25 million loan from East Boston Savings Bank to buy more than 75 properties and sell them back to owners in danger of losing their homes.

The nonprofit organization purchases homes that have mortgages in default or are subject to foreclosure from banks at reduced market prices. It then resells the properties to the owners and issues new, more affordable 30-year mortgages. The organization has financed 270 properties for 381 families since late 2009.

Chief executive Elyse Cherry said the East Boston Savings Bank loan is unusual because it is backed by the revenue from a collection of 160 mortgages issued by Boston Community Capital. She said the new commitment shows that the nonprofit’s real estate model is sustainable.

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The Longmont Humane Society is asking for $772,227 in donations by Nov. 30 to avoid possible foreclosure later this year.

Construction cost overruns from the facility's expansion that began in 2006 and six years of financial deficits have drained the organization's reserves, leaving the humane society unable to make its 2013 and subsequent annual loan payments, executive director Liz Smokowski said.

The nonprofit needs to raise this year's payment within four months or the organization could face foreclosure or be forced to file for bankruptcy as early as December, said Smokowski, who inherited the loan when she was hired at the end of 2011.

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Cathy Haukedahl, a veteran Minnesota deputy attorney general and business lawyer at Felhaber, Larson, Fenlon & Vogt, was a longtime volunteer at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid before she joined the nonprofit as deputy director in 2002. She was named executive director in 2011.

She’s spent a lot of time at the Minnesota Legislature recently, lobbying for more funding for an agency that’s endured budget cuts in previous years. Mid-Minnesota serves the indigent and working poor through several offices in 20 mid-state counties, including Hennepin, and also operates the Minnesota Disability Law Center and two other statewide programs.

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

“These big corporate interests are savvy,” Warren said while speaking at the American Constitution Society's 2013 National Convention, according to the ACS law blog. “They fight every day on Capitol Hill and in the agencies, devoting enormous resources to the task of bending legislation to benefit themselves. But they also devote enormous resources toward influencing the courts. Why? Because they know that influencing those who interpret the law is another extremely effective way to achieve their goals."

Warren warned of the "staggering" consequences a "heavy pro-corporate tilt" on the Supreme Court, and urged pressure on President Barack Obama and others to speed up the judicial nominations process.

“Above all, we must make judicial nominations a priority. It’s time for a new generation of judges, judges whose life experience extends beyond big firms, federal prosecution, and white-collar defense,” Warren said.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

NeighborWorks America announced that it was named one of the nation's largest builders of affordable homes, according to the Builder 100 list. NeighborWorks America, representing the NeighborWorks network, was ranked No. 3 among builders specializing in affordable for-sale homes. NeighborWorks organizations build homes in suburban, rural and urban markets. For the fourth year, NeighborWorks America ranked among the top 100 of all homebuilders, holding the No. 49 place for 2012 with 608 closings. All of the homes built by the NeighborWorks network are classified as affordable.

In a recovery year for homebuilding, NeighborWorks network members, operating throughout the United States, were able to deliver on their commitment to producing affordable, attractive and energy efficient homes for buyers with low- and moderate-incomes.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Land records across the country have been polluted, diluted, laundered and rendered useless by MERS (the Mortgage Electronic Registration System), and has posted a petition demanding answers from the White House. The site is here and the petition can be found here.

One of the paragraphs from the petition reads:

Our Counties are being robbed of billions of dollars in recordation fees through unrecorded MERS assignments and we the people demand that they be paid. From the first MERS loan to the very last one. These are fees that pay for our policemen, our firemen and our roads and schools and you let the banks plunder it through slight of hand. We demand that these recordation fees NOT be paid with 1 dollar out of the US treasury but rather by the banks who premeditated and perpetrated this illegal MERS sponsored tax evasion and fraudulent foreclosure scheme.

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco allotted $10 million dollars to two housing-related programs: Workforce Initiative Subsidiary for Homeownership and the Individual Development and Empowerment Account.

Both organizations help low- to moderate-income families and individuals buy homes, the FHLBank San Francisco said. WISH helps people transition from renting to owning, whereas IDEA is directed at homebuyers who have been saving for the purchase of their first home through an Individual Development Account or through a participating local housing authority, the federal bank explained.

Friday, May 24th, 2013
Tom Roeser is on a one-man mission to save Carpentersville, Ill., from falling into the fate of so many post-industrial Midwestern towns, where neighborhoods have become littered with vacant, foreclosed homes.

Over the past several years, the 60-year-old president and co-owner of the town's largest employer, a maker of switches and communications gear called Otto Engineering, has bought 193 foreclosed homes, completely rehabilitated them and is either selling or renting them at a discount to local residents.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The 15 employees of the Southwest Organizing Project, a nonprofit community group on Chicago's Southwest Side, are housed in a small, shared office space when they aren't out in the community.

They are out a lot in the neighborhoods, ones particularly hard-hit by the housing crisis.

The way they've approached housing issues, as well as other concerns in Chicago Lawn, West Lawn, Gage Park, West Elsdon and Ashburn just garnered them international recognition from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Southwest Organizing Project, known locally as SWOP, was selected as one of 13 groups in five countries last week to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.,0,6202833.column

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


• Supervise grant application review process including: drafting Funding Announcement, notifying eligible applicants of their ability to participate in the program, drafting grant application, recommending scoring criteria, and working with Information Management Division to program application and grant review pages into NeighborWorks’ online grant application system.
• Develop and manage process for grant application review. Provide support, guidance, and oversight to application review teams. Develop objective method for determining award amounts.
• Train grantees (via WebEx and other methods) to ensure understanding of program requirements.
• Conduct debriefings with applicants to help them understand funding decisions.
• Work with Office of General Counsel to draft Grant Agreements. Oversee execution of agreements and timely payment of funds to grantees.

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Mortgage assistance program Keep Your Home California now has more than 100 mortgage servicers participating in the program, offering ways for distressed homeowners to stay in their homes.

By adding more servicers, the federally funded program can help more homeowners in the state struggling to pay their mortgages because of financial hardships, according to a news release from Keep Your Home California.

Homeowners can be eligible for help through four programs, though not all of the 101 mortgage servicers participate in all four.

The programs include help in case of job loss, help catching up on past payments due to hardship, principal reduction and transition assistance, in cases where the homeowner needs help relocating when they can’t keep their home.

Monday, December 10th, 2012
This great statement on housing from Econ4 hits all the right notes, particularly the line “We oppose treating the nation’s housing as a bundle of assets to be sliced, diced, flipped, and bailed out in pursuit of inflated profits and bonuses.” This is really the original sin that caused the crisis. As a result of all that money to be made in securitization, banks enthusiastically wrote more and more loans to feed the machine. They realized at some point that the intensity of transfers would leave them exposed to local county recording costs, so they created MERS to save on those costs and put the transfer system outside oversight. Predictably, this led to sloppy transfers and actual violations of the securitization rules, which banks then covered up through foreclosure fraud. It all stems back to turning housing stock into assets.

Lots of people must be credited with getting to the bottom of this scam, but perhaps nobody is more responsible than Thomas Cox. He was the former bank lawyer – he specialized in foreclosures – who volunteered to help Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine, a nonprofit just starting up a foreclosure defense project.

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