Foreclosures rates are rising–and will continue to rise–across the US, and for the past few weeks, The Voice has been visiting homes that are about to, or have been, sold at foreclosure auctions, in an effort to put a face on the crisis and allow them to tell their story.
A recent project by New Bottom Line–a coalition of community organizations that aim to raise awareness against social injustices–has put faces on a group of people who are one step away from facing foreclosures.
America Underwater shines light on the fact that an estimated 11 million American homes are “underwater”–meaning that, due to the recession, the homeowners owe more money to the banks than their home is actually worth.
The project points to Edward DeMarco as the chief villain in all this. He’s the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees the government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Maes and Macs hold over 50 percent of all the mortgages in the country, and DeMarco has, despite the urging of the Obama Administration, been adamantly opposed to reducing the principle balances of these mortgages, which would provide relief for ailing homeowners who’ve been hit hard by the recession.
Tracy Van Slyke, co-director of The New Bottom Line, told Runnin’ Scared this project hopes to give a voice to those “underwater” and to shine light on the fact that Obama needs to fire DeMarco.
“DeMarco has come out strong over and over again, flatly saying he will not do principle reduction, despite reports saying that would actually benefit tax payers and homeowners,” Van Slyke said. “We need a FHFA director who will work for homeowners and not banks.”
Last week, The New Bottom Line delivered petitions to the Federal Housing Finance Agency headquarters bearing the signatures of 85,000 Americans demanding DeMarco’s firing.
Van Slyke hopes to get more. The America Underwater website has an online petition for those interested in participating, and their Tumblr site has a large collection of “underwater” homeowners.