About a decade ago, home prices exploded to bizarro levels, then millions of families got behind on their mortgage payments. A financial crisis spiraled out from there, almost destroying the world. Things have improved a bit since then, but it still sucks for lots of people. If you can’t make your payments, the bank squares the debt by seizing your home, and you’re left out in the cold. In the modern world, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to you that doesn’t involve a somber doctor asking you to please sit down.

That’s where Evelyn comes in. As part of her real estate job, she works with banks to handle foreclosures, evictions, and lockouts. We asked her what it’s like watching this tragedy unfold again and again. And yeah, it’s a fucking nightmare.

I Foreclose Houses For Banks: 5 Awful Realities


Why the anti-Bank of America “Take Back Boston” protests worked so well

Much credit to these protesters: In some ways, these protests were arguably more effective in one quick burst than the Occupy Wall Street protests have been in one long, slow-moving one. With a specific target (Bank of America) and a specific reason (their overly harsh handling of foreclosures) the result is a protest that plays well for the cameras and effectively encapsulates the point of what’s going on. People got arrested, but they did peacefully. It took a while to draw some reaction from Occupy Wall Street; Bank of America was forced to dismiss the protests as a PR stunt right away. But the fact they had to say anything at all is a big deal. source

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I think this is the kind of direct action that could give this movement a lot of momentum and a little more focus. It draws direct attention to issues of homelessness and identifies capitalism as being directly at fault for the fact that there are more than enough resources for everybody, they’re just being hoarded for profit. Not only that, but people who have been foreclosed on, or are in danger of being foreclosed on, will have an easier time identifying with this movement if, before, they believed it to be made of drum-circle-playing hippy college students.

Of course, in keeping with the “the movement is the message” theme, there is a lot of potential in creating a framework for mutual-aid-based housing networks at a grassroots level.
From an Unlikely Source, a Serious Challenge to Wall Street | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

But there’s something brewing that looks like it might be a blueprint to effectively take on the financial services industry: a plan to allow local governments to take on the problem of neighborhoods blighted by toxic home loans and foreclosures through the use of eminent domain. I can’t speak for how well the program will work, but it’s certaily been effective in scaring the hell out of Wall Street.

Under the proposal, towns would essentially be seizing and condemning the man-made mess resulting from the housing bubble. Cooked up by a small group of businessmen and ex-venture capitalists, the audacious idea falls under the category of “That’s so crazy, it just might work!” One of the plan’s originators described it to me as a “four-bank pool shot.”
Detroit's young gentrifiers face a daunting task in buying $500 homes: evicting poor residents

This coming year, 62,000 Detroit properties will be heading to the tax foreclosure auction if their owners fail to come up with money before April 1. The catch? Over half of these properties have someone living them – usually the previous owner, who paid off the mortgage and whose family may have lived in the house for years.

The result: Young, predominantly white, college educated professionals and creatives may be moving into Detroit lured by tax breaks and incentives, participating in its “renewal” – but tens of thousands of mainly black Detroiters, struggling with bills, are simultaneously – and silently - being shown out the back door.