Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Freedom to have One's Childhood (or Life)

I think at times of how others in the world don't have the right or luxury to live "their own lives", in varying circumstances. There are those under fire - or extreme control as has happened recently in both Gaza and Iraq, and others who often can't simply live a "normal" life, as you or I might not even imagine. The right to go to a job and not get shot at in the process is something that most of us take for granted.

Last Friday I was walking, taking my step-son home from school. I made a joke - saying that he had to "suffer" for the next two days, with no school. My words were interrupted by a young Black girl, somewhere between 9-11 years old, who was about to enter a large commercial van near where we were walking. She spoke most earnestly to me about how she would love to have school 7 days a week. I realized, as I heard her words, that she had no "home" for her weekends - or possibly - a painful supervised trip with a family member (such as to a women's prison). She clearly was in some type of "supervised living" for children, most likely taken away from a parent or guardian. For her - the "good times" - were her times in school, where she could play and in many ways - "be normal". For her a weekend meant unpleasantness. It saddened me!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Housing Crisis - Some Common Sense ?

Listening to National Public Radio today I heard talk of offering homeowners, who were losing their houses/condos to repossession monies to leave sooner than otherwise would happen, leaving the dwelling in good shape. An example was given of a homeowner being given $2,500 to leave their unit in 30 days, rather than facing eviction. The homeowner in one example given owed $500,000 and it was estimated that the house would eventually be sold for around $189,000. While this example may be extreme, it brought ideas to my head.

Assume that these homeowners are delinquent on $500,000 owed on the house first. IF they owed such interest on a 30 year, 6% fixed interest loan, their payments would be close to $3000/month. If the interest rate was 8%, the payments would be almost $3700/month.

If the house were to be sold for $189,000 and the homeowner is paid $2500 to voluntary relinquish possession in 30 days, why couldn't another option the homeowner could have would be the following:

1.) a new $200,000 mortgage at 6% interest - payments of approximately $1200/month,
2.) a lien on the dwelling forbidding additional liens on the dwelling - essentially indicating that the lender "owned" the dwelling,
3.) provisions - that IF the dwelling was sold (or perhaps vacated) - that the lien holder would have certain rights, including a percentage of any profit, if the unit were sold.

Obviously, some homeowners could not qualify for the $200,000 loan, and thus couldn't qualify for such a plan. Where it might work, it would seemingly save everyone money and hassle.

I'm not trying to imply that creating such a program would be simple, however it would seem a good option to keep homeowner's in their homes and to save the government money.