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Charity and Community to Stop Foreclosure - Articles Surfing
In the quest to find some reasonable solutions to fix the foreclosure problem raging throughout the country, the usual avenues of power have been decidedly quiet. Yes, there have been numerous public pronouncements by the president and Congress that the problem needs to be fixed. But, these institutions have relatively little influence on the real estate market and economy in general. If foreclosure victims are to find any relief, it will have to come from decentralized, creative community solutions, rather than a one size fits all federal government program.
The president himself has very little direct control over the economy and is not able to affect homeowners unilaterally, besides offering empty statements of hope and accountability for predatory lenders, neither of which represent actual solutions. The Constitution does not give him authority to take money from some people and give it to others in need of mortgage payments, or suspend the collection of private loan payments, or to renegotiate terms of contract that are already in place. Even the Congress is kind of inadequate for many of the same reasons, and others that we have discussed previously, so the foreclosure crisis is our problem as citizens. Therefore, we have to focus on helping homeowners in our own communities as much as possible.
The most important question, then, should be the following: What have you done to help the homeowners on your street avoid losing their homes? If the answer to that question is nothing, then there is no real basis to complain of a lack of government service. Government is often far behind the people, who are the source the most solutions. Also, if community citizens are worried about the foreclosure problem in their neighborhoods, for whatever reason, but do not have any ideas for solutions, then the following list may be useful as a starting point. It is important to remember, though, that the list is just one set of ideas, and it does not take into account local circumstances. The people and the market can come up with a nearly endless supply of solutions, and the government serves to enforce laws and protect homeowners from having their property rights clearly taken advantage of, but does not provide solutions directly.
Maybe a social welfare program in the city/county to help homeowners in distress. If enough people vote for such a measure, it could be paid for by property taxes or a special assessment. Rather than property taxes going to pay for salaries of low-level clerks or to line the pockets of corrupt officials, a fund set aside to provide assistance directly to homeowners may be one of the few wise applications of a tax. However, the free market and citizens themselves can probably do much better and respond quicker to a quickly-changing real estate market.
Donations from local businesses and other private citizens to help local homeowners is possibly the most obvious starting point. One characteristic of the American people is their nearly endless generosity in charitable giving. Often these are donations to provide assistance to churches, the humane society, or people suffering in other countries. But it homeowners on our own streets are currently in danger of being thrown out of their homes, this charitable giving can be directed to our own communities. Citizens themselves may not have much to spare, as they are dealing with their own bills, but local businesses may see such a donation as a great marketing tactic, as well as keeping more wealth in the local community and ensuring they have a larger potential to do business in the future. A large number of foreclosure victims forced to move to another town or county will negatively affect the businesses left behind, as their pool of possible customers shrinks.
Small, local banks offering low rates to local homeowners could be another solution, if the banks have sufficient resources. Rather than watching the central bank of the United States bail out hedge funds and banks, citizens could work with the banks in their local business area. The banks may see this as an opportunity to expand their business and create loyalty with the customers they assist. Obviously, homeowners who simply can not afford their homes any longer would not qualify for a new loan, but ones that can prove stable income and that the temporary hardship is over may be a potential source of ongoing business. Foreclosure victims often learn financial prudence as one consequence of facing the loss of their homes, and they will be grateful to a local bank that allows them a second chance. This may translate into the same family transferring their investments or personal bank accounts to the local bank, as well as sending referral business.
Church charity drives to collect for foreclosure victims is another great idea, as are such simple matters like school bake sales or a concert in the park or local auditorium with local bands with all proceeds go to homeowners. Every little idea can be considered, even if it may not result in a large infusion of cash to the cause of helping homeowners in trouble. But a concerted effort by local families, business, and institutions can take on the problem and solve it through a number of creative methods.
Of course, these local efforts by private citizens will require much harder work in the short term than doing nothing or waiting for an eventual federal government bailout. But the government can only assist some people by hurting others, and forcing people to do what they would otherwise not want to do, while discouraging the more generous from giving more. Through taxing to help homeowners in need, or inflating the money supply by providing a direct bailout with newly-created money, the problem will only be postponed at best, or simply transferred around the country, at worst. Although some communities may be helped, others paying to help those communities would themselves suffer more.
Thus, the possibilities are endless for private citizens and businesses to positively affect the foreclosure crisis in their cities and counties. It also allows them to come together, help homeowners in need, and preserve the property values and spirit of the community. No other method of foreclosure assistance will result in such a potentially positive experience and create stronger local bonds between the homeowners and the local businesses through the charitable spirit of Americans.
Obviously, no one person or effort will be able to affect all of the homeowners in the country, but private citizens can effectively help the smaller number in their communities that are suffering right now. Then, other communities can learn from what is happening around the country, and create their own local solutions. This is not to say that it is wrong to place so little trust in the government to fix the foreclosure crisis, but is meant to emphasize the creativity and charity that are only present in private citizens and the market, who are able to design truly effective methods of providing compassionate assistance without the use of force.
The longer we rely on government to solve the problem of record foreclosure numbers throughout the country, the longer the problem will last and the more people will lose their homes. It is in every homeowner's best interests to do as much as they can to help other foreclosure victims and provide assistance to those in danger of losing their homes.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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