Obama has taken an important step in addressing the root causes of the economic crisis by announcing a comprehensive strategy to stabilize communities by helping 7 to 9 million U.S. families restructure their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.
The administration’s plan offers hope to cities and towns across the country that have been hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis, and a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of homeowners who are desperately trying to work with their banks to modify their loans and who, in the words of Obama, “find themselves navigating a maze of rules and regulations but rarely finding answers.”
“It is incredible what CCISCO and the community of Antioch have been able to accomplish,” said CCISCO leader Berenice Ramos, who helped launch PICO’s National Campaign to Stop Preventable Foreclosures in Antioch. The efforts of PICO are bearing fruit as evidenced by President Obama’s announcement. Helping 7 to 10 million families is a miracle for our families fighting to save their homes, and gives hope to those families who have already lost their hope to continue on.
“I want to encourage people to keep fighting and supporting CCISCO and PICO so that no one else will have to suffer the loss of their home,” added Ramos. “We know that all of the sorrow and pain in communities has given birth to the positive response of President Obama today. It gives us hope that by working together we can rebuild our community and economy.”
As a network of faith-based organizations working to prevent foreclosures and help rebuild neighborhoods, PICO believes that, if implemented quickly and effectively, the strategy announced today will give relief to homeowners and communities, including:
• The creation of standard guidelines for loan modification that all banks receiving taxpayer bailout money are required to implement.
• $75 billion to help millions of responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure by lowering their monthly payments to an affordable 31 percent of income.
• Incentives for servicers to modify loans, not only for families on the brink of foreclosure but also for struggling borrowers before they fall behind on their payments.
The plan also calls on Congress to enact legislation that would empower homeowners whose banks will not work with them to modify their mortgages through bankruptcy court.
On March 6-9, PICO will hold a cross-country Recovery Express bus caravan to highlight successful efforts by cities to prevent foreclosures and stabilize neighborhoods, and to press members of Congress from both parties to support bold action to keep families in their homes, including fixing the bankruptcy code and changing tax laws to clarify the legal ability of mortgage trust holders to modify mortgages.
During 2008-09, the PICO network has helped lead a national faith-based campaign to stop preventable foreclosures through direct assistance to families at-risk of losing their homes by developing model city, county and state foreclosure prevention strategies and by advocating for federal policies to stop more than 3 million preventable foreclosures.
On Feb. 5, PICO issued a joint report with the Center for Responsible Lending, calling on the Treasury and Congress to create a large-scale, streamlined program to modify home mortgages: Common Sense Solutions for Saving Homes and Communities.