Every Thursday there is a reconciliation hearing at City Hall for people who are in danger of losing their homes due to foreclosure.
At these reconciliation hearings, a housing counselor is available. This is the place where homeowners and lenders negotiate a financial plan that can save a family from losing its home.
Al Stewart is a housing counselor at the Southwest Community Development Corp. He says that even with all the preventative programs in place that make it difficult for a home in Philadelphia to be foreclosed, like the Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, the crisis has still bombarded the city.
“Southwest has the most in the Philadelphia, and West Oak Lane is right behind us with a very high percentage. I don’t really know exactly why, but there are a lot of factors. Right now, trickle down economics are causing top managers to get middle manager jobs, middle managers to get entry-level jobs, and the folks with entry- level skills are unemployed. It’s a combination of the people here with extremely low income and lack of education.”
Carey Davis is a community organizer.. She visits the homes of families all over Southwest Philadelphia every week to remind them of their reconciliation hearing date, as well as give them information on the Save Your Home Philly Hotline.
“It’s really a great program the city has. It’s helped a lot of families keep the homes they thought they were going to lose.”
The hotline helps homeowners connect with housing counselors who then work out agreements with their mortgage companies.
With 16.2 percent of Eastwick’s population living below the poverty level, it is hard for some homeowners and renters to keep up with their payments. According to the 2000 census, 44 percent of the people renting homes or apartments in Eastwick spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. In Elmwood Park 48.7 percent of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and 29.5 percent of Elmwood’s population lives below the poverty level.
Philadelphia has historically had large unemployment rates. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that between 1990 and 1996 the lowest rate of unemployment was 4.1 percent in 2000 and the highest was 7.7 percent in 1992
To contact the Save Your Home Philly Hotline, call 215- 334-4663.