Oakland Seeks to Halt Foreclosures

Political leaders thank ACCE, Just Cause, OCO for advocacy


Officials spoke at a city press conference Tuesday about the efforts of grassroots groups and elected officials to help home owners and tenants stay in the their homes in the wake of the ongoing foreclosure crisis. From left to right: Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Rep. Barbara Lee, City Council At-Large member Rebecca Kaplan, and Robbie Clark, an organizer with Causa Justa – Just Cause.. Photo by Ken Epstein.

By Post Staff Over 10,000 Oakland residents have lost their homes to foreclosures since the housing crisis began in 2007, and about 3,500 are currently in the process of losing theirs.  In the past 4 months, 834 new Notices of Default have been filed. The city with the backing of state and federal government officials has launched a new pilot program that pools $5 million in federal, state and private money to help homeowners stay in  their homes or least help soften the blow for those whose homes cannot be saved. “Oakland was one of the first cities to recognize the foreclosure crisis when it began and the city’s grassroots organizations and city, state and federal representatives have been in the forefront of defending homeowners,” said Council Member at Large Rebecca Kaplan, speaking Tuesday at a  City Hall  press conference where Oakland city officials, grassroots groups, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and Congresswoman Barbara Lee gathered to celebrate the city’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis. Navigating the loan modification process is really difficult for homeowners who have to deal with the banks alone, said Yvonne Standford, a member Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). People give up and “walk away discouraged,” Standford said. She helped pressure Bank of America to reduce the principal owed on a second mortgage her ill sister took out on a Maxwell Park district home. Other legislation supported renters, like Kim Shanklin who faced eviction when the owner of her building went into foreclosure. Such  evictions of tenants with leases are now illegal. Next week, the City Council will consider the plan, which involves distributing funds to the Community Housing Development Corp. and advocacy groups such as Allen Temple Baptist Church and SEIU 1021. The new ROOT loan fund is a proposal to set aside up to $1.2 million for a pilot program to help 20-25 homeowners avoid foreclosure by resetting their mortgages at the current market value of their property.
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