Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Home for Good Blog Carnival. We asked bloggers to join us in urging folks to send an e-postcard to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner demanding an end to wrongful foreclosures, insisting on providing affordable homes to rent, and asking him to keep safe home ownership available.
Thanks to everyone who participated! The good news is that if you haven't written your post yet, there's still time! The bad news is that the crisis is far from over—we still need your help.
The posts from the roundup:
Over at the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council, Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum, notes that June marks the celebration of National Homeownership Month, but few Latinos are at the party. Puente notes that according to a Latino Policy Forum analysis of data from the Woodstock Institute, there were more than 10,000 foreclosure filings in predominately Latino communities in Chicago and its suburbs in 2010. But surely with all the refinancing options available, folks can get now get some relief, right? Wrong. One in three Latino refinance applications is denied in metropolitan Chicago, compared with just 17% of applications from non-Latinos. “Until Latinos have access to affordable mortgage options and appropriate housing counseling services, foreclosures will continue to ravage neighborhoods across the state,” Puente concludes.
From our friends at Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, an Out of the Spotlight post notes that despite a recent uptick in home construction, millions of Americans remain at risk of losing their homes. We've all heard that one in six Latino homeowners—more than one million people—is at imminent risk of or has already lost his or her home to foreclosure. Did you know that the same is true for one in nine Black homeowners?
The post also notes that, according to a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, not only are many Americans not purchasing homes—many cannot afford rental housing either.
Meanwhile, Tax Credits for Working Families makes a strong case for Property Tax Circuit Breakers in A Fix for the Home Ownership Crisis. Though the funky name may be off-putting, the concept behind this state tax instrument is sound: Just as an electric circuit breaker stops the flow of electricity to prevent a circuit overload, a property tax circuit breaker protects taxpayers from a property tax “overload,” reducing tax liability for individuals and families whose property tax payments are too large a percentage of family income.
The post also points out that rising property taxes are an often unrecognized factor in the homeownership crisis—even affecting renters, as costs are typically passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases.