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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Greenvilles in Cali

1 in 43 !
Household income 2000 42K 2005 49K
House prices 2000 138K 2005 385K
=================================
Tent city in suburbs is cost of home crisis
Tent city in suburbs is cost of home crisis - Yahoo! News
By Dana Ford Fri Dec 21, 8:18 AM ET

ONTARIO, California (Reuters) - Between railroad tracks and beneath the roar of departing planes sits "tent city," a terminus for homeless people. It is not, as might be expected, in a blighted city center, but in the once-booming suburbia of Southern California.
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The noisy, dusty camp sprang up in July with 20 residents and now numbers 200 people, including several children, growing as this region east of Los Angeles has been hit by the U.S. housing crisis.

The unraveling of the region known as the Inland Empire reads like a 21st century version of "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's novel about families driven from their lands by the Great Depression.

As more families throw in the towel and head to foreclosure here and across the nation, the social costs of collapse are adding up in the form of higher rates of homelessness, crime and even disease.

While no current residents claim to be victims of foreclosure, all agree that tent city is a symptom of the wider economic downturn. And it's just a matter of time before foreclosed families end up at tent city, local housing experts say.

"They don't hit the streets immediately," said activist Jane Mercer. Most families can find transitional housing in a motel or with friends before turning to charity or the streets. "They only hit tent city when they really bottom out."

Steve, 50, who declined to give his last name, moved to tent city four months ago. He gets social security payments, but cannot work and said rents are too high.

"House prices are going down, but the rentals are sky-high," said Steve. "If it wasn't for here, I wouldn't have a place to go."

'SQUATTING IN VACANT HOUSES'

Nationally, foreclosures are at an all-time high. Filings are up nearly 100 percent from a year ago, according to the data firm RealtyTrac. Officials say that as many as half a million people could lose their homes as adjustable mortgage rates rise over the next two years.

California ranks second in the nation for foreclosure filings -- one per 88 households last quarter. Within California, San Bernardino county in the Inland Empire is worse -- one filing for every 43 households, according to RealtyTrac.

Maryanne Hernandez bought her dream house in San Bernardino in 2003 and now risks losing it after falling four months behind on mortgage payments.

"It's not just us. It's all over," said Hernandez, who lives in a neighborhood where most families are struggling to meet payments and many have lost their homes.

She has noticed an increase in crime since the foreclosures started. Her house was robbed, her kids' bikes were stolen and she worries about what type of message empty houses send.

The pattern is cropping up in communities across the country, like Cleveland, Ohio, where Mark Wiseman, director of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program, said there are entire blocks of homes in Cleveland where 60 or 70 percent of houses are boarded up.

"I don't think there are enough police to go after criminals holed up in those houses, squatting or doing drug deals or whatever," Wiseman said.

"And it's not just a problem of a neighborhood filled with people squatting in the vacant houses, it's the people left behind, who have to worry about people taking siding off your home or breaking into your house while you're sleeping."

Health risks are also on the rise. All those empty swimming pools in California's Inland Empire have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can transmit the sometimes deadly West Nile virus, Riverside County officials say.

'TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT'

But it is not just homeowners who are hit by the foreclosure wave. People who rent now find themselves in a tighter, more expensive market as demand rises from families who lost homes, said Jean Beil, senior vice president for programs and services at Catholic Charities USA.

"Folks who would have been in a house before are now in an apartment and folks that would have been in an apartment, now can't afford it," said Beil. "It has a trickle-down effect."

For cities, foreclosures can trigger a range of short-term costs, like added policing, inspection and code enforcement. These expenses can be significant, said Lt. Scott Patterson with the San Bernardino Police Department, but the larger concern is that vacant properties lower home values and in the long-run, decrease tax revenues.

And it all comes at a time when municipalities are ill-equipped to respond. High foreclosure rates and declining home values are sapping property tax revenues, a key source of local funding to tackle such problems.

Earlier this month, U.S. President George W. Bush rolled out a plan to slow foreclosures by freezing the interest rates on some loans. But for many in these parts, the intervention is too little and too late.

Ken Sawa, CEO of Catholic Charities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, said his organization is overwhelmed and ill-equipped to handle the volume of people seeking help.

"We feel helpless," said Sawa. "Obviously, it's a local problem because it's in our backyard, but the solution is not local."

(Additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins in Ohio; Editing by Mary Milliken and Eddie Evans)

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Found this speech

Increasing homeownership is the idealistic goal . Goal 5M by 2010.
The policy worked alrite in fact worked too well.
Simplification of the process ultimately gave birth to ninja loans.etc.

====================================
President Reiterates Goal on Homeownership
The goal is, everybody who wants to own a home has got a shot at doing so. The problem is we have what we call a homeownership gap in America. Three-quarters of Anglos own their homes, and yet less than 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics own homes. That ownership gap signals that something might be wrong in the land of plenty. And we need to do something about it.

We are here in Washington, D.C. to address problems. So I've set this goal for the country. We want 5.5 million more homeowners by 2010 -- million more minority homeowners by 2010. (Applause.) Five-and-a-half million families by 2010 will own a home. That is our goal. It is a realistic goal. But it's going to mean we're going to have to work hard to achieve the goal, all of us. And by all of us, I mean not only the federal government, but the private sector, as well.

And so I want to, one, encourage you to do everything you can to work in a realistic, smart way to get this done. I repeat, we're here for a reason. And part of the reason is to make this dream extend everywhere.

I'm going to do my part by setting the goal, by reminding people of the goal, by heralding the goal, and by calling people into action, both the federal level, state level, local level, and in the private sector. (Applause.)

And so what are the barriers that we can deal with here in Washington? Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeownership is high down payments. People take a look at the down payment, they say that's too high, I'm not buying. They may have the desire to buy, but they don't have the wherewithal to handle the down payment. We can deal with that. And so I've asked Congress to fully fund an American Dream down payment fund which will help a low-income family to qualify to buy, to buy. (Applause.)

We believe when this fund is fully funded and properly administered, which it will be under the Bush administration, that over 40,000 families a year -- 40,000 families a year -- will be able to realize the dream we want them to be able to realize, and that's owning their own home. (Applause.)

The second barrier to ownership is the lack of affordable housing. There are neighborhoods in America where you just can't find a house that's affordable to purchase, and we need to deal with that problem. The best way to do so, I think, is to set up a single family affordable housing tax credit to the tune of $2.4 billion over the next five years to encourage affordable single family housing in inner-city America. (Applause.)

The third problem is the fact that the rules are too complex. People get discouraged by the fine print on the contracts. They take a look and say, well, I'm not so sure I want to sign this. There's too many words. (Laughter.) There's too many pitfalls. So one of the things that the Secretary is going to do is he's going to simplify the closing documents and all the documents that have to deal with homeownership.

It is essential that we make it easier for people to buy a home, not harder. And in order to do so, we've got to educate folks. Some of us take homeownership for granted, but there are people -- obviously, the home purchase is a significant, significant decision by our fellow Americans. We've got people who have newly arrived to our country, don't know the customs. We've got people in certain neighborhoods that just aren't really sure what it means to buy a home. And it seems like to us that it makes sense to have a outreach program, an education program that explains the whys and wherefores of buying a house, to make it easier for people to not only understand the legal implications and ramifications, but to make it easier to understand how to get a good loan.

There's some people out there that can fall prey to unscrupulous lenders, and we have an obligation to educate and to use our resource base to help people understand how to purchase a home and what -- where the good opportunities might exist for home purchasing.

Finally, we want to make sure the Section 8 homeownership program is fully implemented. This is a program that provides vouchers for first-time home buyers which they can use for down payments and/or mortgage payments. (Applause.)

So this is an ambitious start here at the federal level. And, again, I repeat, you all need to help us every way you can. But the private sector needs to help, too. They need to help, too. Of course, it's in their interest. If you're a realtor, it's in your interest that somebody be interested in buying a home. If you're a homebuilder, it's in your interest that somebody be interested in buying a home.

And so, therefore, I've called -- yesterday, I called upon the private sector to help us and help the home buyers. We need more capital in the private markets for first-time, low-income buyers. And I'm proud to report that Fannie Mae has heard the call and, as I understand, it's about $440 billion over a period of time. They've used their influence to create that much capital available for the type of home buyer we're talking about here. It's in their charter; it now needs to be implemented. Freddie Mac is interested in helping. I appreciate both of those agencies providing the underpinnings of good capital.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 02:30 PM
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That is a very peculiar article (initial post). It's clear intent is to cast a light on the current housing crisis, yet claims "While no current residents claim to be victims of foreclosure...". Furthermore, I find myself entirely unsympathetic toward folks with an income, albeit a rather modest one, who are unable to afford standard housing in southern California. The answer for these folks is the same as that which Sam Kinnison provided to address world hunger: YouTube - Sam Kinison - HBO special (about 4 minutes in).

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 04:47 PM
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That is a very peculiar article (initial post). It's clear intent is to cast a light on the current housing crisis, yet claims "While no current residents claim to be victims of foreclosure...". Furthermore, I find myself entirely unsympathetic toward folks with an income, albeit a rather modest one, who are unable to afford standard housing in southern California. The answer for these folks is the same as that which Sam Kinnison provided to address world hunger: YouTube - Sam Kinison - HBO special (about 4 minutes in).
One of the problems is that many bailed on their houses prior to foreclosure as they just left them or were unable to pay and liquidated out. Since there credit is now trashed from the liquidation/walkaway/foreclosure/bankruptcy most find it hard to, as Kenison advised "just fucking leave". They can't get most apartments as credit checks won't let them get an apartment and if they are working they can't get government housing [only kind that doesn't require credit check in most places]. This is causing a very Big Assed Catch 22.

One of the guys that I hire to do contract work when I need it just came to me today and told me he is 3 months behind on his Mortgage [all due to his wife screwing up her back and not being able to work at her salon]. They had always been 100% up to date on things but 6 months of a bad back put them down hard. His mortgage's ARM is going up to 10.5 in February [I nearly choked] but if not up to date foreclosure is more likely. And this from a guy who has, for the most part done it the right way. No extravagances, simple 50 year old $130K house, IT Specialist, wife owns a hair salon, older cars, no kids. Then the trip cord. And 15 years of work and planning is starting to unravel.

So if folks in SoCal are anywhere like this, where they just tittered off the edge from what was once a normal existence, moving to cheaper/easier sounds good but is not that easy. And depending on where the jobs are...

McBear,
Kentucky

Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 04:51 PM
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2007, 11:45 PM
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I think a 1 BR studio close to my neighnorhood rents between 1,200 - 1,300$.
A small 1,150 Sq ft 2 BR condo was 600K.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 07:49 AM
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^ Exactly. Most people can't afford southern CA housing, unless they're drawing southern CA salaries. If you can't afford to live there and you aren't tied to a job, try TN.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 01:19 PM
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^ Exactly. Most people can't afford southern CA housing, unless they're drawing southern CA salaries. If you can't afford to live there and you aren't tied to a job, try TN.
There aren't any jobs available in Tennessee. It has a 5% unemployment rate and manufacturing and construction are down. Only jobs are McJobs minimum wage type jobs in the service industries or high skill education/medical [which pays shit in TN - teachers start at $28K]

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 01:22 PM
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Yeah, but some could find a studio apartment or a trailer for $300/month rather than $2500 month. Social security check could cover it.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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