Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll has gotten down and personal with desperate homeowners. In the illusion of recovery Kroll witnesses people showing up for free help from a group I've never heard of, the NACA.
Currently the NACA is touring the country with free help for distressed homeowners in the Save the Dream program. Current Pit stop is Charlotte, NC. Here is Kroll's account from the NACA mortgage help tour at San Francisco's Cow Palace:
A ragged line of them wound through the lot outside the entrance to the Cow Palace, a dingy arena decades past its prime on the southern edge of San Francisco. These people, and thousands more like them who had streamed into the arena all day long from as far away as Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, were unemployed, broke, bankrupt, or at their wit’s end. They were here waiting for help -- for their chance to make it inside the warm arena to participate in “America’s Best Mortgage Program.”
For these homeowners, the last shot at saving their homes -- and their personal version of the American Dream -- lay under the glow of the floodlights in a expanse where tiers of brown and yellow seats encircled a desk-lined floor more accustomed to livestock shows and rodeos. This was, in fact, the latest stop on the “Save the Dream” tour, a massive homeowner-relief event organized by a consumer advocate group, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA).
The turnout was staggering: close to 45,000 desperate homeowners showed up during NACA's five-day stand at the Cow Palace for the chance to renegotiate their disastrous subprime mortgages or sky-high interest rates or interest-only payments. For them, this event beat any chance at a star-studded concert -- and best of all, it was free.
Inside, homeowners received housing-related financial advice and met with NACA’s counselors, a stoic crew, always with coffee or energy drinks in hand and clad in red and yellow T-shirts with STOP LOAN SHARKS and SHARKS BEWARE emblazoned on their backs. Here, homeowners could have their income, taxes, and spending habits analyzed, and possibly walk away with a monthly mortgage payment that actually fit their situations. With that payment figure in hand, homeowners could then meet with representatives from their mortgage companies in the same arena and try to hammer out new terms on more affordable mortgages.
The process would save many of them thousands of dollars, defuse an explosive mortgage, even avert foreclosure. To boost morale, NACA officials occasionally ushered chosen homeowners to a makeshift lectern where each offered a glowing testimonial over a PA system to the work taking place. They spoke fervently of new fixed-interest loans and fought back tears, while thanking their counselors, friends, NACA, and -- regularly -- God.
Since we're non-partisan and I am always highly suspect of political agenda groups, I thought I'd link to this corporate conservative article on NACA. For myself, there is one thing I agree with from conservatives, to buy a home one must have a stable income to afford a home. This is why you see the jobs, jobs, jobs chant mantra on EP. Considering the conservatives found no real funky dirt on NACA (unlike ACORN), I decided to post this link to the NACA in hope some people find some real help.
Periodically we get anonymous comments from the desperate, asking us to help save their home from foreclosure. Unfortunately we're an economics blog and just don't have that kind of power beyond screaming our heads off on what is going on in America.
I note today's anonymous comment from a desperate homeowner:
citi bank and the scam on modifing my home loan
Submitted by janet shidler (not verified) on Mon, 11/30/2009 - 07:52.
citi bank offered me a home modification in may of 2009 in nov.2009 after 4 peyments they called to tell me i was not qualified. i made all payments on time and now they will not return my calls. i contacted sigtarp and greenpath. citi did not return those calls either. i have 2000,000in this home and need someone to help me talk to citi. thank you. i had a fixed 6% rate and used all my retirerment money.
Folks, you might try this if you're desperate. Check them out, do your homework but financial terrorist tactics against the large banks....who are currently getting into payday loans and charging loan shark interest rates on credit cards? Doesn't sound too extreme to me under the circumstances.
I would like to see a few class action lawsuits against some of these banks. Where are the Pro Bono attorneys, getting out there and fighting for the middle class?
It appears the Obama administration isn't going to do anything against these banks, who are making more money by foreclosing than modifying mortgages. Read HAMP is a SCAM and see if you could do any worse with the NACA. I don't think so.