Active Rain November 18, 2009

Helping Avoid Foreclosure in Philadelphia

I may be in New York, but I know the exact Philadelphia neighborhood where the guy in this article in today’s NY Times lives. He’s in Frankford, off Roosevelt Boulevard, and about 10 blocks east of St Martin of Tours Catholic School. The City of Philadelphia has instituted a program that, while not perfect, is making a difference for people facing foreclosure. Basically, the city is forcing lenders to sit down with the borrowers, who are represented by volunteer lawyers, and work out any deal possible short of foreclosure. It isn’t always successful, but according to the piece it also results in a more dignified exit in the cases where the people can’t stay. 

I always considered myself a free market capitalist who abhorred government meddling in commerce. That is true in most cases. However, capitalism and free enterprise are not a suicide pact. This isn’t a day at the office, this is triage on a national scale. We can’t allow people like Chris Hall (and the millions like him) to go down the drain out of loyalty to a philosophy. We have to do something collectively, and as much as I dislike many of the Administrations policies, I have to admit that the climate of aid for struggling homeowners would not exist otherwise. Philadelphia is an overwhelmingly democratic town, so this initiative isn’t surprising to me. I give the democrats (and republicans who support it) credit.

I’d rather aid Chris Hall and other honest, hard working regular people than watch the big banks take my tax money and then thumb their nose at me. Call me crazy.

I only wish I saw more of this. I know nothing of this on a local level in New York, and that is a shame. So I tip my cap to Philadelphia, my former home of almost 10 years. New York may have the better baseball team (sorry. I had to get that in), but in helping homeowners, Philly is the true champion.