Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meeting Looks at Eviction Reprieve: Town Hall Meeting Held to Push for Moratorium on Foreclosures in Michigan

Meeting looks at eviction reprieve

Bill addresses foreclosure crisis

June 15, 2008

Sandra Hines was evicted from her home last year, two weeks before Christmas.

Everything was removed from the home when she and her sister were thrown out -- the new refrigerator, the furniture, their dignity.

"When you're evicted you experience sadness, embarrassment, broken heartedness, alienation, heartache and shame," Hines, 54, said Saturday at a town hall meeting in Detroit to address the foreclosure crisis and promote a new bill that could give homeowners facing foreclosure a 2-year reprieve.

"Not only was I disconnected from a home," Hines said, "I was also disconnected from a community."

Saturday's town hall meeting -- organized by the Moratorium Now! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions -- promoted the passage of legislation proposed by Sen. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit. About 100 people turned out for the event at the union hall of UAW Local 7.

Under the bill, a homeowner in foreclosure could petition a circuit court judge to get the 2-year moratorium, Clarke said. If a homeowner is granted the time, he or she can make arrangements to start paying back loans or taxes owed.

The bill, Clarke said, "doesn't take people off the hook of making payments."

Similar bills have been introduced in other states, including New York, where the State Assembly in May approved putting a one-year moratorium on foreclosures of subprime mortgages.

Clarke said foreclosures have ripple effects -- hurting not only the homeowners, but lowering property values and decreasing and lowering the tax base, which means less money to go toward schools and police and fire services.

Clarke said there has been some action by the state, including a new program to help homeowners refinance their mortgages to get caught up with payments.

But, he said, there's little help for people who have already gone into foreclosure.

"Right now, even if my bill is enacted into law, there are so many hundreds of homeowners now who have lost their homes or had their credit ruined and their lives really thrown off track."

Yvette Charles is in foreclosure on her home in Southfield. In November, her home was sold at a Wayne County Sheriff's Office sale, but she said she was never given prior notice. Because of the mix-up, Charles said, she's been given more time to try and keep her house.

Now, she's trying to refinance. But, as a real estate agent, she's making little, if any, money.

"It's like day-to-day," the 60-year-old said. "I'm facing eviction."

Clarke said everyone is suffering from the crisis -- from the poorest residents to the most affluent.

"If we don't stop foreclosures right now, it could ruin the entire economy of the state of Michigan," he said. "That's what's at stake."

Contact GINA DAMRON at 248-351-3293 or
Find this article at:

No comments: