News & Media Coverage

Brockton Interfaith leaders go to Washington to address city’s foreclosure crisis

November 17, 2008  |  The Brockton Enterprise  |  Link to article

By Maria Papadopoulos

The Enterprise

Posted Nov 17, 2008 @ 02:56 AM

Last update Nov 17, 2008 @ 08:34 AM


A delegation from the Brockton Interfaith Community was heading to Washington, D.C., today to meet with federal and Congressional leaders to address the city’s foreclosure crisis.

“This is the time to act,” Connie Miller, a congregant of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brockton, said Sunday.

She is among three leaders within the Brockton Interfaith Community expected to meet on Tuesday with John Podesta, the head of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, as well as Congressman Barney Frank and officials from the Treasury Department.

Diluvina Vazquez-Allard, a congregant of St. Patrick’s Church in Brockton, and Ada Riggins, representing Messiah Baptist Church in Brockton, will join Miller to take part in a series of meetings with community leaders from Massachusetts and 17 other states, according to BIC.

The Brockton delegation will press federal leaders to adopt a model foreclosure program to direct more money to distressed homeowners, Miller said.

That would allow homeowners facing foreclosure to modify their mortgages — by offering no- or low-interest loans, or extending loans — so they can hold on to their properties, Miller said.

“The idea is for people to be able to keep their homes,” said Miller, a Ward 2 resident.

Lawmakers complained Friday that the Bush administration is ignoring the will of Congress and slighting homeowners on the verge of foreclosure in its latest approach to spending $700 billion in economic rescue money.

“It’s very clear that Treasury cannot and will not make the effort to keep people in their homes,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on domestic policy.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, citing the worsening credit crunch, said last week that Treasury no longer planned to buy up troubled mortgage assets, but was instead looking into ways to shore up credit-card, auto-loan and other nonbank businesses.

The purpose of the Washington visit “is to make sure that (federal leaders) understand the concerns of people in Brockton,” Miller said.

The number of foreclosure deeds recorded in Brockton soared 77 percent in the first three quarters of 2008 compared to a year ago, according to a recent report issued by the Warren Group, a Boston-based real estate data collection agency.

Overall, Massachusetts witnessed a 72 percent growth in foreclosure deeds from January through September, compared to 2007.

Brockton’s 452 foreclosures ranked fourth highest in the state, behind Worcester, with 572; Springfield at 521; and Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, 509.

Brockton has also witnessed the highest percent growth in the state for auction announcements. A 132 percent rise in Brockton auction announcements indicate a significant concern:

During the first three quarters of 2007, auction announcements in Brockton stood at 330. That number surged to 767 during the first three quarters of 2008.In comparison, auction announcements rose 36 percent in Worcester and 20 percent in Springfield.

“It’s kind of scary,” Miller said of the extent of Brockton’s current housing crisis. “People that are left in the neighborhoods to deal with the houses that should be boarded up. They have a lot to deal with.”

The BIC delegation will also address universal health coverage for children while in Washington, officials said.