[COMM-ORG] PICO housing organizing

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Dec 18 21:07:29 CST 2009

From: "PICO National Network" <news at piconetwork.org>

Faith Leaders Call for Reform that Keeps Families in their Homes
  Decry multi-billion dollar bank bonuses as millions of families face

WASHINGTON, DC - While President Obama met yesterday with executives of
the nation's largest banks, clergy joined struggling homeowners from
California, Massachusetts, Kansas and Missouri in front of the U.S.
Treasury Department to voice an urgent call for fairness for families
facing foreclosure and propose the creation of a new federal initiative
to help unemployed homeowners save their homes.

Telling "a tale of two holidays," faith leaders contrasted a
bountiful celebration for bank executives who will receive billions in
holiday bonuses with that of the millions of families who face losing
their homes, telling of a crisis not only economic but also moral.

Watch video of the rally at

Following the news conference, faith leaders and struggling homeowners
from the PICO National Network, together with allies, met with members
of the White House National Economic Council where they delivered a
letter signed by hundreds of clergy nationwide calling for specific
reforms to hold banks accountable, keep families in their homes, and
protect consumers from predatory lending.

Rev. Lucy Kolin, PICO clergy spokesperson from Oakland, CA and co-chair
of PICO affiliate Oakland Community Organizations, spoke of the anger
that many Americans are feeling.  "Many Americans see all too
easily the immense contradiction between the record profits that Wall
Street is back to making and the incredible pain and suffering that so
many families are facing this holiday season - families who are losing
their jobs and their homes due to a recession caused in large part by
banks' reckless behavior."

Nylton Andrade, a public school teacher from Brockton, MA and member of
PICO affiliate Brockton Interfaith Community was laid off in June. His
lender, Bank of America, told him that he did not qualify for a loan
modification because he lacked permanent income. His family could lose
their home any day. "It's maddening to see the banks that caused
our recession, and were then bailed out by taxpayer money, turn around
and give out billions in bonuses while they continue to throw millions
of people out of their homes like myself, who simply need a lifeline
until we find a new job," said Andrade.

Jointly convened by the PICO National Network, Faith in Public Life,
Sojourners and the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), the event
noted how families who qualify for a loan modification under the
federal Making Home Affordable Program are still facing long delays and
difficulties in actually securing a modification from the bank. Only 1%
of the 3.3 million families who qualify for a loan modification have
actually received a permanent lower monthly mortgage payment since the
program began in April.  Bank of America has only permanently modified
98 loans out of their 1 million borrowers who qualify.

Although subprime mortgages drove the first wave of foreclosures,
currently two-thirds of all foreclosures are prime loans, driven in
large part by the nation's high unemployment.  PICO is now working to
urge the federal government to create a new initiative that would help
this next wave of struggling homeowners be able to continue paying
their mortgages until they find new employment. Learn more about this
proposal at

Joining PICO were Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners, who said,
"Teachers, social workers, small business owners and our men and
women in the armed services all know what it means to sacrifice for the
good of our country in tough times and they do so with pride.  I refuse
to believe that Wall Street is the one place in the country that is
exempt." Rabbi Jack Moline, Director of Public Policy of the
Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative
rabbis, also told the group, "How ironic is it that many of the
lenders, whether they were entrepreneurial in their motives or simply
greedy, now find that the good is eluding them as well...To do economic
justice right, means to focus on the good."

For more information about PICO's work to keep families in their homes
and end predatory lending, visit

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