Liberal advocacy groups, including MoveOn.org and Brave New Foundation, are upping pressure on Congress over the next few days to act on a foreclosure relief plan sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.).
The measure, scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages for certain homeowners who didn't obtain financing through fraud. The bill would also increase deposit protection from $100,000 to $250,000 and increase the credit line the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation needs to meet that higher level of assurance.
The bill is generally opposed by Republicans and some conservative Democrats who argue that it undermines the bedrock of the free enterprise system -- the sanctity of the contract - by allowing judges to renegotiate deals that have already been agreed to. Proponents say that without such a modification plan, foreclosures will continue to surge and housing prices will continue to plummet -- which then leads to further foreclosures, and so on.
Brave New Foundation sent an e-mail to its more than one million members Sunday, urging them to call their congressional representatives to urge support of Conyers' bill, H.R. 1106. The message comes with a new mini-doc on the foreclosure crisis featuring a subprime broker whose face is blurred out as he talks about forging documents, fudging income levels and the other shenanigans of the banker-broker-appraiser alliance as home prices surged.
MoveOn will also be urging members in select congressional districts to call targeted members of Congress. "Starting tomorrow, we'll be making sure that Democrats who are on the fence hear from their constituents that they want [their] elected leaders to stand with homeowners and not with big mortgage banks, which means keeping the bill strong and not watering it down," said MoveOn's Ilyse Hogue.
UPDATE: The Huffington Post reached Joan Adams, the woman featured in the video who lost her home, at the Motel 6 where she and her husband have been staying for the last three months. Her son, who is a senior in high school, is living with a family in the area.
Joan and her husband are checking out today, unsure where they're going. "My husband's check doesn't come until tomorrow," said Adams. Her husband, she said, receives Social Security and disability payments - he is a former truck driver - that equal roughly $2,000, which also happens to be the rough monthly cost of the Motel 6.
"We're going to storage so we can sell off some more things," she said. Storage costs about $300 per month, she said.
Adams lost her home, which she said she put an $85,000 down payment on, after she lost her job in the real-estate industry.
The Orange County Motel 6, she said, is teeming with homeless families. She can tell their situation, she said, because so many of them have their dogs with them. The Motel 6 near the John Wayne Airport is one of the few pet-friendly motels in the area, she said.
"I've got two small dogs we ended up keeping - I just couldn't give them up - and this hotel is dog friendly. I'd say half the people in here were displaced. Either their landlords were foreclosed on or they were foreclosed on," said Adams.
The room has a balcony, which makes it easier for the dogs, Adams said, but she's unsure how they'll cope tonight. "When you don't know what you're doing every night, it makes everyday living very difficult," she said.
The family is stuck. A one-bedroom apartment in the area, said Adams, goes for about $1,200, but because all of their income goes to the Motel 6, it's impossible to build up the cash needed for a security deposit and first-month's rent. And, like thousands of others who have lost their homes, they now have miserable credit.
"We've got to find someone willing to not run the credit. Our credit is shot. Any property-management company, forget about it," said Adams. She said that if anyone in the Orange County area knows of a landlord willing to work with her family, she can be reached at email@example.com.
Adams said she's looking forward to once again having a kitchen.
"We microwave all our meals. It's not that healthy of eating," she said. "Unfortunately, I love to cook, and it's not much fun."