Oct 15, 2007

Noted civil rights leader to rally against predatory lending

Well-known national civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson will be in Michigan beginning Tuesday to address both the national and local problem of foreclosures, predatory lending and subprime lending and to urge legislation to combat the problem.

Although predatory lending and high foreclosure rates are national problems, it’s exceptionally acute in Michigan where the state’s leading employer is shedding jobs. Michigan lays claim to the unenviable record of being the fourth highest in the country in the number of home foreclosures, but it is also a problem nationally with 1.2 million foreclosures filed in 2006. That number is expected to rise.

Jackson will team with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for the "Saving Our Homes, Building Healthy Communities” initiative. He will appear at rallies and forums in mid-and southeast Michigan for three days beginning with a community forum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 1083 East Stewart Street at Selby in Flint.

Jackson is the founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a progressive organization of all races fighting for social change. Jackson has been a civil rights pioneer for more than 40 years when he became a full-time organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the 1960s and worked and marched alongside legendary civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King. He was also a Democratic candidate for President in 1984 and 1988.

ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the nation's largest community organization of low-and moderate-income families working for social justice.- just released a study last month called “Foreclosure Exposure.” Although the reports shows the problem has effected all homebuyers, it found that minorities - regardless of income – took out a much higher percentage of high-risk loans, particularly Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM). ACORN is sponsoring a rally of its own from 9-11 a.m. on Tuesday on the Capitol steps in Lansing.

According to the report, subprime loans were initially created for borrowers with low incomes or poor credit histories who were unable to obtain prime loans at a standard bank rate, but the system was abused when many borrowers who would have been able to qualify for credit on better terms were targeted for these higher-interest loans. ARMS have also contributed heavily to the problem because rates automatically increase after two years, and many lenders only consider the cost of the initial lower payments, not the higher, later payments. Additionally, some lenders and brokers write loans they know the borrowers cannot afford just to collect the fees and commissions.

“This is an issue we are very much involved with here in Michigan,” said Dave Lagstein, an ACORN organizer in Michigan.

The problem has drawn a lot of attention from the Legislature and the Governor lately, and last week both the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle rolled out legislation to address the problem. The Governor also set up the “Save the Dream” initiative in MSDA last week to offer resources and advice to avoid foreclosure.

Jackson’s schedule of events continues at 9 am. Wednesday when he addresses students at J.W. Sexton High School, 102 South McPherson Ave. in Lansing. At noon Jackson will travel to Saginaw to hold a community forum at the Greater Coleman Temple Cogic, 2716 Wadsworth St. Jackson will be back in Lasing for a 6 p.m. townhall meeting at Pattengill Middle School, 1017 Jerome St.

Thursday will feature Jackson leading a Legislative Engagement Rally at Noon on the Capitol steps, followed by a 3 p.m. rally and meeting at Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, 143 Oneida Rd. in Pontiac. Jackson’s Michigan visit will end at the historic Little Rock Baptist Church, 9000 Woodward Ave. in Detroit, with a forum at 6 p.m. At all the summits and forums representatives from MSHDA and other community and state agencies will be on hand to offer advice on saving a home from foreclosure.

1 comment:

Chet said...

You know, this might actually be a productive use of his time. Predatory lending and housing discrimination are something most people can agree should be exposed and weeded out.