WBEZ | Mortgage Crisis http://www.wbez.org/tags/mortgage-crisis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Who's responsible for vacant property? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-13/whos-responsible-vacant-property-96287 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-10/471796909_2ffc351066_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Vacant homes have become a hazard to whole neighborhoods. Community groups are fighting everything from crime, to fire hazards to just keeping grass clipped.</p><p>It turns out this is a problem for local governments too. Last summer the city of Chicago took the step of making lenders responsible for the cost of maintaining vacant homes, and starting tomorrow, Cook County is holding the likes of Bank of America accountable.</p><p>WBEZ’s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/natalie-moore" target="_self">Natalie Moore</a> and Chicago magazine’s <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Radar/Deal-Estate/" target="_blank">Dennis Rodkin</a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to discuss the details about vacant properties.</p></p> Mon, 13 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-13/whos-responsible-vacant-property-96287 U.S. Government seals $25 billion mortgage settlement http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/021012 seg a3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Thursday, federal and state prosecutors reached a $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosures.&nbsp; So, what now? That's the question on many current and former homeowners' minds.</p><p>Ed Jacob, the executive director of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), sussed out the details and answered callers questions.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 Judge rejects SEC's settlement with Citigroup over mortgage bond deal http://www.wbez.org/content/judge-rejects-secs-settlement-citigroup-over-mortgage-bond-deal <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-28/AP080813054907.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NEW YORK &nbsp;— A federal judge on Monday used unusually harsh language to strike down a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying he couldn't tell whether the deal was fair and criticizing regulators for shielding the public from the details of what the firm did wrong.</p><p>U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said the public has a right to know what happens in cases that touch on "the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives." In such cases, the SEC has a responsibility to ensure that the truth emerges, he wrote.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://rs.wbez.org/filestore/4/6/2/9_fa4298d8aadcbb1/4629_alt_32_87af7cd96da996b.jpg?v=2011-11-28+14%3A53%3A39" style="border-width: initial; border-color: initial; border-width: initial; border-color: initial; border-width: initial; border-color: initial; margin-left: 15px; margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: left; width: 325px; height: 183px; " title="(File/AP)">Rakoff said he had spent hours trying to assess the settlement but concluded that he had not been given "any proven or admitted facts upon which to exercise even a modest degree of independent judgment." He called the settlement "neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest."</p><p>The SEC shot back in a statement issued by Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami, saying the deal was "fair, adequate, reasonable, in the public interest, and reasonably reflects the scope of relief that would be obtained after a successful trial."</p><p>The SEC had accused the bank of betting against a complex mortgage investment in 2007 — making $160 million in the process — while investors lost millions. The settlement would have imposed penalties on Citigroup but allowed it to deny allegations that it misled investors.</p><p>Citi said it was reviewing the decision and declined to comment.</p><p>The SEC's consent judgment settling the case was filed the same day as its lawsuit against Citigroup, the judge noted.</p><p>"It is harder to discern from the limited information before the court what the SEC is getting from this settlement other than a quick headline," the judge wrote.</p><p>"In much of the world, propaganda reigns, and truth is confined to secretive, fearful whispers," Rakoff said. "Even in our nation, apologists for suppressing or obscuring the truth may always be found. But the SEC, of all agencies, has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges; and if it fails to do so, this court must not, in the name of deference or convenience, grant judicial enforcement to the agency's contrivances."</p><p>He set a July 16 trial date for the case.</p><p>Khuzami said in the SEC statement that Rakoff made too much out of the fact that Citigroup did not have to admit wrongdoing. He said forcing Citigroup to give up profits, pay fines and face mandatory business reforms outweigh the absence of an admission "when that relief is obtained promptly and without the risks, delay and resources required at trial."</p><p>Khuzami added: "Refusing an otherwise advantageous settlement solely because of the absence of an admission also would divert resources away from the investigation of other frauds and the recovery of losses suffered by other investors not before the court."</p><p>Rakoff said the power of the judiciary was "not a free-roving remedy to be invoked at the whim of a regulatory agency, even with the consent of the regulated."</p><p>He added: "If its deployment does not rest on facts — cold, hard, solid facts, established either by admissions or by trials — it serves no lawful or moral purpose and is simply an engine of oppression."</p><p>In the civil lawsuit filed last month, the SEC said Citigroup Inc. traders discussed the possibility of buying financial instruments to essentially bet on the failure of the mortgage assets. Rating agencies downgraded most of the investments just as many troubled homeowners stopped paying their mortgages in late 2007. That pushed the investment into default and cost its buyers' — hedge funds and investment managers — several hundred million dollars in losses.</p><p>Earlier this month, Rakoff staged a hearing in which he asked lawyers on both sides to defend the settlement.</p><p>At the hearing, Rakoff questioned whether freeing Citigroup of any admission of liability could undermine private claims by investors who stand to recover only $95 million in penalties on total losses of $700 million.</p><p>In his decision, he called the penalties "pocket change" to a company the size of Citigroup and said that, if the SEC allegations are true, then Citigroup got a "very good deal." If they are untrue, the settlement would be "a mild and modest cost of doing business," he said.</p><p>This wasn't the first time that the judge struck down an SEC settlement with a bank, and Rakoff has made no secret of his disdain for settlements between the government agency and banks for paltry sums and no admission of guilt.</p><p>"The SEC's longstanding policy — hallowed by history, but not by reason — of allowing defendants to enter into consent judgments without admitting or denying the underlying allegations, deprives the court of even the most minimal assurance that the substantial injunctive relief it is being asked to impose has any basis in fact," he wrote in Monday's decision.</p><p>In 2009, Rakoff rejected a $33 million settlement between the SEC and Bank of America Corp. calling it a breach of "justice and morality." The deal was over civil charges accusing the bank of misleading shareholders when it acquired Merrill Lynch during the height of the financial crisis in 2008 by failing to disclose it was paying up to $5.8 billion in bonuses to employees even as it recorded a $27.6 billion yearly loss.In February 2010, he approved an amended settlement for over four times the original amount, but was caustic in his comments about the $150 million pact, calling it "half-baked justice at best." He said the court approved it "while shaking its head."<br> Citigroup's $285 million would represent the largest amount to be paid by a Wall Street firm accused of misleading investors since Goldman Sachs &amp; Co. agreed to pay $550 million to settle similar charges last year. JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co. resolved similar charges in June and paid $153.6 million.</p><p>All the cases have involved complex investments called collateralized debt obligations. Those are securities that are backed by pools of other assets, such as mortgages.</p><p>Rakoff's ruling Monday was the latest in a series of setbacks for the SEC under the leadership of Chairman Mary Schapiro. Rakoff has said he doesn't believe the agency has been sufficiently tough in its enforcement deals with Wall Street banks over their conduct prior to the financial crisis.</p><p>The SEC told Rakoff recently that $285 million was a fair penalty, which will go to investors harmed by Citigroup's conduct, and that it was close to what the agency would have won in a trial.</p></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/judge-rejects-secs-settlement-citigroup-over-mortgage-bond-deal Sheriff mulls freeing inmates wanted on immigration charges http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-mulls-freeing-inmates-wanted-immigration-charges-89233 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20090908_tarnold_9361_Sher_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>On any given day, the Cook County Jail holds hundreds of inmates picked up on criminal charges who also happen to be wanted for an immigration violation. Sheriff Tom Dart’s office keeps them up to 48 hours beyond when the criminal cases would allow them out. That’s to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE, to take them into deportation proceedings. Now Dart tells WBEZ he’s reconsidering that policy because it could be compromising public safety. We report from our West Side bureau.</p><p><br> SOUND: Keys open a jail door.<br> <br> Beneath the Cook County criminal courthouse, one jailer pulls out keys and unlocks a door. Another, Officer Carmelo Santiago, leads the way.<br> <br> SANTIAGO: We’re going through this tunnel that connects us from the courthouse to the jail. This way is where the detainee is going to be coming.<br> <br> We step around crusts of sandwiches that the day’s new arrivals got for lunch.<br> <br> SANTIAGO: And this is the receiving process.<br> <br> SOUND: Entering the receiving area.<br> <br> The smell of unwashed feet wafts from chain-link pens full of inmates who’re waiting to be processed. Santiago shows me the paperwork of a Mexican national busted last night in Chicago.<br> <br> SANTIAGO: This individual was arrested for driving on a revoked or suspended license on a DUI.<br> <br> A lot of immigrants who drink and drive end up in this jail. That’s because Illinois considers DUI a felony when the motorist lacks a valid driver’s license. And the state doesn’t allow any undocumented immigrant to get one.<br> <br> SANTIAGO: He was issued a bond from the court for $15,000.<br> <br> Santiago points out that the defendant could walk free for just $1,500. Except, his file shows something else.<br> <br> SANTIAGO: This specific individual has a detainer that was placed on him through immigration.<br> <br> MITCHELL: This man can post bond or not [and] he’s going to end up in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement?<br> <br> SANTIAGO: That is correct.<br> <br> Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he doesn’t like holding on to inmates like this one for ICE to take away. He says these holds make it harder for local police to fight crime. Residents see cops and start thinking about the threat of deportation — the threat to the criminals, maybe even to themselves.<br> <br> DART: It does not lend itself to a sense of community where people will gladly come to you with information about crimes, get involved as a witness, even come forward as a victim, frankly.<br> <br> Over the years Dart has taken steps to reduce the jail’s role in immigration enforcement. The sheriff’s office says it no longer calls ICE with information about inmates. The sheriff no longer allows ICE agents in holding cells near bond courtrooms. The jail has put up big signs — in English, Spanish and Polish — that tell new inmates they have no obligation to answer questions about immigration status. But Dart says something has him in a bind. Every day ICE requests that the jail hold certain inmates two extra days so the agency can put the detainees into deportation proceedings. The jail ends up turning over about a half-dozen inmates to ICE each day. Two years ago, Dart quietly sought some legal advice from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office.<br> <br> DART: The opinion was really unambiguous. It said I had to comply with the detainer. So, when the detainer was placed on somebody, I had to give the ICE officers 48 hours to come and pick somebody up and that it was not in my discretion.<br> <br> MITCHELL: Could you ignore the state’s attorney’s opinion?<br> <br> DART: Then I open myself up personally to civil liability.<br> <br> Dart says that could include damages for someone hurt by a released inmate or the legal defense if an anti-immigrant group filed suit . . .<br> <br> DART: . . . which is not something that myself or my five children signed up to do. And I open our office up to unbelievable amounts of liability.<br> <br> But some immigrant advocates are pressing Dart about the ICE detainers. They confronted a few of his top aides at a meeting a few weeks ago. Reverend Walter Coleman got to question a sheriff’s attorney, Patricia Horne.<br> <br> HORNE: It’s a legal document just like an arrest warrant, which we, under law, have to recognize.<br> <br> COLEMAN: Under what law?<br> <br> HORNE: Well, in this case, under federal law.<br> <br> COLEMAN: There is no federal law. You cannot cite me the statute or the chapter or the section. You know that that’s the truth and we will not sit here and be lied to like this.<br> <br> It turns out ICE isn’t citing a statute either. Lately federal officials have acknowledged that local jails don’t have to comply with immigration detainer requests. Last month the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department quit honoring the requests for certain inmates. Here in Cook County, Sheriff Dart says that’s got him wondering again whether he has to comply with the 48-hour holds. He tells me he’s planning to ask the State’s Attorney’s Office for an updated opinion. He could do that quietly again and most people wouldn’t even know. But Dart doesn’t always operate quietly. You might remember that, twice over the last three years, the sheriff has ordered his deputies to suspend enforcement of foreclosure evictions.<br> <br> MITCHELL: You run one of the country’s biggest jails. Would you really be willing to become a national lightening rod on the issue of immigration enforcement?<br> <br> DART: Well, there is this notion of justice that we’ve always felt very strongly about in this office. And whether it’s dealing with people who we felt were being dispossessed of their houses in the mortgage crisis. So we stopped. It’s the same issue here, where we are attempting to do what is right and just.<br> <br> But Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Greg Palmore has a warning for any sheriff who lets inmates walk free despite an immigration hold.<br> <br> PALMORE: Though ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings, jurisdictions who ignore detainers bear the risk of allowing that individual back into the public domain before they were thoroughly vetted to insure that this individual doesn’t have anything outstanding that warrants us to move further in that particular case.<br> <br> Sheriff Dart acknowledges there could be a downside to ignoring immigration detainer requests. Let’s say ICE knows the inmate arrived in the country under an alias or is violent — and the information didn’t appear in the jail’s background check. But Dart says letting some immigrants out of jail even though ICE wants them could be worth the risk. It might help remove the deportation issue from everyday policing. The sheriff says that could make streets in Cook County safer.</p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 23:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-mulls-freeing-inmates-wanted-immigration-charges-89233 For many, it's still a good time to buy a home http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-07/many-its-still-good-time-buy-home-87560 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-08/73573581.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Home prices around the country have fallen into a double dip. After declining around 30 percent from their peak, they started to rise a bit last summer with the help of a federal tax credit.</p><p>But with that stimulus gone, prices are now sliding again to new lows. And while some pundits say a lease makes more sense than a mortgage, other economists insist it's a great time to buy.</p><p><strong>'American Dream' Under Fire</strong></p><p>Since the housing bubble burst, there's been some dramatic questioning of homeownership. A <em>Time</em> magazine cover declared that owning a home may no longer make economic sense. And politicians are under fire for over-promoting homeownership.</p><p>It's enough to make any prospective homeowner hide under their bed in their rented apartment. But many economists, like Mark Zandi with Moody's Analytics, say these concerns are overblown.</p><p>"Everyone's re-evaluating more carefully whether they should own a home or not," Zandi says. "But for the vast majority of Americans homeownership is still the right thing."</p><p>Zandi says the same fundamentals are still true: If you can afford it, there are a lot of advantages to homeownership. With a fixed interest rate, your home payment never goes up. But your rent will climb in most places. And even if prices don't rise that much — if you pay down the mortgage every month, and you don't take out a big home-equity loan — there's an automatic savings for the future built into owning.</p><p>"This is why homeownership has been such an important part of the American Dream, because people have used it as a way to save. And it's been a relatively safe way to save," Zandi says. "Now of course, as we know as we have seen, there are ups and downs. But in general it's been a pretty good investment."</p><p><strong>Buy Now To 'Benefit In The Long Run'</strong></p><p>Zandi says the housing crash hasn't changed the nature of homeownership.</p><p>"The other thing to consider is that like any asset — after a crash, after prices have fallen very quickly — everybody is very nervous and reticent to dive back in, but it's the people who do that who benefit in the long run," he says.</p><p>Zandi has been tracking home prices as they've fallen in cities and neighborhoods across the country. And he's asking this question: Does it make sense for people to buy a home right now?</p><p>"I think the arithmetic is such that if you plan to live in your home five or more years, then you should really consider buying a single-family home in most parts of the country at this point in time," he says. "Prices have fallen so far, that single-family housing now is very, very attractive; very affordable [...] and it's now even attractive relative to renting."</p><p><strong>Cost </strong><strong>Of</strong><strong> Owning Has Sunk</strong></p><p>While it's been getting cheaper to own a home, it's actually been getting more expensive to rent a place to live.</p><p>Gleb Nechayev is a housing economist with CBRE Econometric Advisors, a real estate research firm in Boston. Nechayev has a chart that shows the cost of owning a house compared to renting. Back in 2006, the cost-of-owning line on the chart was reaching its peak, but now the line has plunged down — like the cliff of a mountain.</p><p>"We are at the very bottom of that mountain right now and we have never seen that ratio so low," Nechayev says.</p><p>Nechayev's data goes back to 1986. And he says since then, it's never been this cheap to own a house as compared to the cost of renting. Of course, these are national averages and there are some big differences depending on the city and neighborhood and type of home.</p><p>But overall, it's gotten so cheap that Nechayev is puzzled why more people aren't buying.</p><p>"The fact that we haven't seen people jumping at this opportunity does suggest that we might be witnessing some kind of changing perception of homeownership," he says.</p><p>Nechayev says younger would-be homebuyers may be deciding to live in cities, where it can still be harder to find and afford a nice home or condo in a good neighborhood.</p><p>And he says job mobility is a big issue for many people in the still shaky economy. If they have to move to take a new job, it's a lot easier to do as a renter. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1307528529?&gn=For+Many%2C+It%27s+Still+A+Good+Time+To+Buy+A+Home&ev=event2&ch=130729880&h1=Crisis+In+The+Housing+Market,Around+the+Nation,Your+Money,Economy,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137029194&c7=1018&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1018&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110608&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=130729880&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-07/many-its-still-good-time-buy-home-87560 Revision Street: Claire, 28 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-claire-28 <p><p><em>A blonde with quiet features, Claire&mdash;a former mortgage broker&mdash;would have made for an unusual presence in the stolid environment of the bank, as she seems perfectly at home in the hip, eco-friendly salon where she cuts hair. She&rsquo;s not here for the politics, however: she tells me flat out, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not really a save-the-world person.&rdquo; Right now, she&rsquo;s just a hairstylist with an eye on a job with corporate. </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>What was it like, being a mortgage broker, knowing what you know now?</em></p> <p>It was fun. You were putting people into their first homes. That&rsquo;s a big deal for people.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/86125374@N00/4248409992/"><img width="500" height="375" alt="" title="house 24" class="size-full wp-image-27487 " src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//house-24.jpg" /><br /><em>(photo by find myself a city to live in)</em><br /></a></p><p style="text-align: left;">This woman I know, she was talking about waiting for the call approving her loan. They kept putting it off, telling her it would be another week, and then another week. I remember that. That&rsquo;s scary.</p> <p>Now, they&rsquo;re not approving anybody. And they shouldn&rsquo;t have been back then. But it was fun.</p> <p>These people had no credit. How did you expect them to avoid foreclosure? I&rsquo;m glad to be out of it, but I&rsquo;ve always said, if they started doing that again, approving everybody, I&rsquo;d go back into it.</p> <p>Yeah, people say you have three careers. I guess I got my first one out of the way. I&rsquo;ll do this for a while, then I&rsquo;ll move into corporate. We&rsquo;ll see how that works.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 24 Jun 2010 09:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-claire-28 Sign of the times: "Get Your House in a Box!" http://www.wbez.org/blog/sign-times-get-your-house-box%C2%9D <p>Call it what you will -- the new pet rock perhaps? -- but Cheryl Wharton of Newark, California is facing the mortgage crisis with an entrepreneurial and tongue-in-cheek spirit. She invented this: <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//House-in-a-box.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-10050" title="House in a box" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//House-in-a-box.jpg" alt="Used by permission of Cheryl Wharton. Car not included. " width="370" height="276" /></a> <!--break--> <p style="text-align: center;"></p> Yes, you too can be the proud owner of your very own House in a Box!‚  (I feel like I'm waiting for Bob Barker to yell "Come on down!) The <a href="http://www.boxedinproductions.net/index.html" target="_blank">Boxed In Productions web site</a> calls it‚  "no fuss, no muss" and points out you'll never have to deal with "pesky neighbors" or the dreaded f-word, foreclosure. I laughed so hard when I stumbled upon the site that I decided to give Cheryl Wharton a call.‚  She told me the project was inspired in part by her sister, Feleciai Favroth, who worked in real estate and regularly dealt with mortgage and foreclosure. Wharton says she has sold "a couple hundred" so far, including one to an 80-year-old Sacramento woman and five-year-old girl who "wants to be a homeowner someday." The American dream for everyone.‚  Complete with a white picket fence. <em>*Disclaimer:‚  No product endorsement by Chicago Public Radio, expressed or implied. </em></p> Tue, 08 Dec 2009 13:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/sign-times-get-your-house-box%C2%9D Full-length presentations from "How Not to Lose Your House Party" http://www.wbez.org/blog/full-length-presentations-how-not-lose-your-house-party <p>For those of you who missed the Vocalo.org/Facing the Mortgage Crisis "How Not to Lose Your House Party"‚  (I know, the Bears were on!) here is each session for your listening pleasure. <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Vocalo-event1.jpeg"><img class="size-full wp-image-9634 aligncenter" title="How Not to Lose Your House Party" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Vocalo-event1.jpeg" alt="How Not to Lose Your House Party" width="251" height="250" /></a></p> In this half-hour talk, Pam Dempsey, owner of Bronzeville Properties, covers what you need to know about tax credits, the buying process, inspections, and condos. <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Homebuying-101-with-Pam-Dempsey.mp3">Homebuying 101 with Pam Dempsey</a> Art del Angel of Metropolitan Tenants Organization advises renters of their rights and suggests ways to protect themselves when their landlords fall into foreclosure.‚  This presentation runs about 35 minutes. <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Tenants_Rights_with_Art_Del_Angel-Full-Recording1.mp3">Tenants Rights with Art del Angel </a> Michael van Zalingen of Neighborhood Housing Services covers what you need to know about foreclosure prevention.‚  This presentation runs about 40 minutes. <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//How_Not_to_Lose_Your_House_-_Michael_Vanzalingen.mp3">How Not to Lose Your House presentation by Michael van Zalingen</a> If you are still‚  looking for face-to-face help (or want to help a friend) check out our<a href="http://www.wbez.org/files/MC_resourceguide.pdf" target="_blank"> Community Resource Guide</a>.‚  It lists a directory of agencies throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.‚  Some are offering December workshops. The crowd of around 50 who came for dinner and dancing also did its part by bringing donations for the <a href="http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/site/PageServer" target="_blank">Greater Chicago Food Depository. </a> <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//House_Fyodor-Food.JPG"><img class="size-full wp-image-9697" title="Vocalo producer Fyodor displays donations" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//House_Fyodor-Food.JPG" alt="Vocalo producer Fyodor displays donations " width="432" height="324" /></a></p> Tue, 01 Dec 2009 08:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/full-length-presentations-how-not-lose-your-house-party Melancholic mortgage melodies http://www.wbez.org/jpower/2009/11/melancholic-mortgage-melodies/9646 <p><span> I'm amazed at what a YouTube search for "foreclosure song" turns up.‚  Here's just a sample of the creativity out there. </span> <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="320" height="265" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/eA4J9THGQdY&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320" height="265" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/eA4J9THGQdY&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> <span>"Foreclosure" by Chris Kiley Performed by Chris Kiley and Ana Tipton</span> <em><span>Honey, it's hard to say But the bills are piling up And they aren't gonna go away I feel beat I've been working overtime And still can't make ends meet<!--break--></span></em> <em><span> </span></em> <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="320" height="265" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/LnYZJB-8tf8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320" height="265" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/LnYZJB-8tf8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> "Foreclosure Blues" by TL Carosella Performed by John Carosella <em>Say goodbye to the lenders Say goodbye to my house Goodbye to my pickup truck And goodbye to my spouse</em> <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="480" height="295" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/kFxBUFRdV5o&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="295" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kFxBUFRdV5o&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> "Foreclosure Then" written by Jeff Miller Music by Elton John <em>And I think it's going to be a long, long time Until it doesn't feel like 1929 Maybe I can get myself a new home loan Oh, no, no, no I'm in foreclosure then</em> Besides being set to the tune of "Rocket Man," be sure to look for President Obama holding a light saber.</p> Mon, 30 Nov 2009 14:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/jpower/2009/11/melancholic-mortgage-melodies/9646 The appraiser, the cat and the two-flat http://www.wbez.org/blog/appraiser-cat-and-two-flat <p>While looking into what happens at the intersection of pets and foreclosure (see <a href="/jpower/2009/11/fido-fifi-and-foreclosure/9278" target="_blank">this entry</a> from last week) I met a man named Tony Pietrzyk. <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//DSC04837.JPG"><img class="size-full wp-image-9607" title="Seraphina &quot;Sarah&quot; and her rescuer Tony Pietrzyk" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//DSC04837.JPG" alt="Appraiser Tony Pietrzky and Seraphina. Photo by Jeanne Power" width="442" height="332" /></a> Pietrzyk is as an appraiser of sorts; he provides broker priced opinions or "ËœBPOs' of foreclosed properties on Chicago's Southside. <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//SOT1_itsprettyeerie.mp3">Tony Pietrzyk on eerie homes</a> </strong> Inside one of those homes, a boarded up two-flat on Chicago's Southside, Pietrzyk discovered more than he had bargained for.‚  Sprawled across the floor, hanging out of a box, lay a gray cat.<!--break--> <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//SOT2_omgsheisalive.mp3">Tony Pietrzyk on cat discovery</a></strong> When Pietrzyk approached her, he realized not only was she tame, she wasn't alone. <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//SOT3_shesgotkittens.mp3">Tony Pietrzyk on kitten discovery</a></strong> Pietrzyk says he felt bad, but he already had cats of his own.‚  Besides, he had work to do, so he left them food and water and went home.‚  But he says something kept tugging at him, so he kept dropping by to feed the animals.‚  And when a cleaning crew came to gut the house, Pietrzyk says he knew what he had to do. <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//SOT4_iwentoverthere.mp3">Tony Pietrzyk on rescueing animals</a></strong> He cared for the animals for a month and half and found homes for the kittens.‚  As for the mother cat, he named her Sarah and took her to the Tree House Humane Society shelter.‚  That's also where Pietrzyk found a new passion and purpose as a volunteer. On most Sunday afternoons, you'll find Pietrzyk at the shelter.‚  Walking in and out of the various rooms, he knows the cats by name and by story.‚  "This guy up here Lucas, he's really mean," Pietrzyk says of a grumpy old fellow who hisses as we approach. Then there's Pickles, a long-haired black and white cat who immediately wins my<em> </em>heart.‚  "Pickles... He was abandoned in a church," Pietrzyk explains. As he tells me about his volunteer work with a "trap and return" program for feral cats and explains various feline ailments, I can't help but notice the smile that never seems to leave Pietrzyk's face.‚  This is a man who has clearly found a calling. <strong> </strong> <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//SOT5_itwasimportanttome.mp3">Tony Pietrzyk on why he volunteers</a></strong> He still sees Sarah; she's still at Tree House.‚  Long gone is that abandoned two-flat; she's now lounging in the "chubby cat" room.‚ ‚  When Pietrzyk calls for her, she crawls right into his arms. Since the shelter already had a cat named Sarah, she is now Seraphina.‚  The name is a derivation of Seraphim, which in Christianity is the highest order of angels. Pietrzyk says the meaning isn't lost on him. <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//SOT6_shechangedit.mp3">Pietrzyk on cat changing his life</a></strong></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2009 12:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/appraiser-cat-and-two-flat