This story from a San Fransisco CBS affiliate reminds us all just how bad things still are. While the media tells us the economy is “improving”, millions of Americans see no light at the end of this tunnel. Foreclosures, layoffs (retail giant Best Buy is reportedly laying off nearly 2,000 workers), pay cuts and fees for emergency services are just a few of the harsh realities in this “new economy.”
The article, written by KCBS reporter Doug Sovern, gives an overview of the foreclosure crisis in San Fransisco and explores the trials faced by many families out of work, out of home and out of hope.
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – California had the highest foreclosure rate in the country in July, a stark reminder that people are still losing their homes in record numbers despite state and federal efforts to end the housing crisis. For the first time, there were more foreclosures in California than Nevada during a 30-day period, according to the RealtyTrac report for the first six months of 2012. Foreclosures in California have shot up 18 percent since June 2011.
“So many people have lost their entire net worth, their only asset. And a lot of it is because these banks gambled trillions of dollars on the derivatives markets,” said J.P. Messer with Foreclosure Defense, an activist group based in Oakland.
The Homeowner Bill of Rights signed by Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Wednesday comes too late for many of the 700,000 Californians who have already defaulted on their mortgages and been told by the bank to get out.
That’s exactly what happened to Pamela Hall of San Leandro, who owes nearly $500,000 on a diamond in the rough she turned into her dream home. Unfortunately now it’s only worth about $200,000. “I worked in the real estate world, so I thought I knew everything until the market crashed. And I got a rude awakening. We have been struggling, trying to hang onto our house,” she said.
Hall got laid off a few months ago, has a child in college and a 14-year-old daughter at home. And the bank has notified her it would foreclose and put the property up for sale within a week.
“I don’t really know what we’re going to do. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know,” Hall said.
Read the article here.
But, across the country, people are fighting back. Occupy Our Homes is a vibrant movement dedicated to keeping families with a roof over their head, and forcing banks to renegotiate rather than foreclose. They also seek to confront legally question practices like robo-signing.