Parsing the Obama housing plan with Alvin Hall, Part one

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Obama administration has released the details of its housing plan, which is meant to be a finger in the dam for the tidal wave of homes facing foreclosure throughout the U.S. Yesterday the administration launched their website, that will help struggling homeowners determine their eligibility for assistance. We can do one better than that. Joining us is Takeaway contributor and financial adviser Alvin Hall who is here to help homeowner Pamela Zombeck in Salem, Massachusetts sort through it all.

Click here for part two

"Buy the best property you can and no longer feel the need to buy that McMansion so you are over-extended."
— Takeaway contributor Alvin Hall on responsible housing choices

Guests:

Pamela Zombeck

Contributors:

Farai Chideya, Alvin Hall and Jen Poyant

Comments [2]

Raines Cohen

We're finding in the cohousing movement that the effects of the crisis are dampened by:

* Having supportive neighbors to talk to, share challenges, responses and resources, and know that we're not alone in the struggle.

* Having a context, like regular meals together, to do the sharing and catch up on each others' lives, so that we have plenty of positive interactions to balance out the crises

* Having small, energy-efficient homes because we share common space and common tools: we don't all need our own laundry, lawnmower, lawn, or guest rooms.

* Living in a neighborhood we helped design, built to need in partnership with a developer, rather than on speculation for maximum profit.

Of course, we're not immune from the effects, on the job market, on home finance, and the rest of the economy. But I feel much more secure living in community than I would "out there" by myself.

Mar. 05 2009 02:04 PM
Bob Gardner

There are three things that would long alleviate the housing crisis, and the first two of them are cheap.
1) Foreclosures shouldn't be so easy. At a minimum whoever forecloses should have to demonstrate to a court that they are the rightful owner, not just a designated agent for a bunch of tranches; it should also demonstrate the ability and commitment to keep the house occupied.
2)People who live in foreclosed houses should not be thrown out without good cause. This means honoring the leases of tenants, as well as allowing the former owners to remain as tenants. The real estate industry has opposed "just cause" eviction laws for years, but the lack of those laws has turned whole neighborhoods into boarded up wastelands.
3) Install a single-payer Canada style health system. Medical bills are still one of the major causes of financial ruin and of foreclosures. Taking medical expenses out of the equation would dramatically cut down on the number of foreclosures.

Mar. 05 2009 07:50 AM

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