Broad coalition says “it’s time to make Wall Street banks pay”

The foreclosure crisis is costing San Francisco almost $7 billion, according to a new report released today in Bayview by our statewide coalition of homeowners, community leaders and students. Despite efforts to push for solutions through the AG Settlement and State Legislation, Wall Street Bank opposition increases and foreclosures are getting worse. According to RealtyTrac, Bank repossession in San Francisco have increased 39% since June compared to 33% in Vallejo, 17% in Contra Costa and 15% in Alameda.

This is the first report to bring to light the full impact of the costs to Wall Street foreclosures in the city of San Francisco, with detailed numbers for individual neighborhoods including Bayview, which has disproportionately suffered from the foreclosure crisis. The report shows:

Foreclosures harm all homeowners: Overall, San Francisco homeowners are estimated to lose $6.9 billion in home values as a direct result of the foreclosure crisis.

Foreclosures erode the property tax base and impact services for all: Property tax revenue losses are estimated to be $42 million in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.

Foreclosures cost local governments: The typical foreclosure costs local governments more than $19,229 for increased costs of safety inspections, police and fire calls, and trash removal, and maintenance. In San Francisco, theses costs are estimated to be $73.4 million.

The full report can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/wreckingballSF

“This report quantifies what people in California have been feeling for years – banks’ practices are financially devastating to our neighborhoods and cities,” said Curtis Warren an ACCE Member and a Bayview resident at the brink of losing his home.

ACCE is a community organization helping California residents to organize and take action to improve their lives. The report offers the latest evidence that fixing the housing crisis is central to fixing the economy. Data from the report shows:

• Fixing the underwater crisis by writing down mortgages would save California homeowners $810 every month and pump $20 billion annually into local economy.

• With the extra $810 per month, homeowners could start spending again, making purchases they have been putting off. The increase in consumer demand would in turn help spur 300,000 jobs in California.

• San Francisco has 16,355 homeowners underwater by $1.5 billion. If banks wrote down those mortgages, it could pump $158 million into local economy and spur 2,349 jobs.

Today a statewide coalition of homeowners, community members, faith leaders and students held events in hard-hit neighborhoods across California announcing a new series of actions throughout the fall saying it’s time to make Wall Street banks pay for destroying jobs and neighborhoods with their greedy, irresponsible and predatory business practices.

In Bayview, over a dozen residents and allies including Kevin Stein from CRC, representatives from Supervisor Malia Cohen’s Office and Assessor Phil Ting’s Office and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi met with residents to talk about a strategy to move forward and protect homeowners.

"Communities in District 10 are disproportionately suffering from the impacts of foreclosures,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. "A declining property tax base, loss in property values and physical blight significantly impairs our City's ability to be able to turn the tide of economic recession into economic recovery. I am working on a strategy to address these concerns in the coming weeks to protect District 10 homeowners".

Part of the event was to not only release a report detailing cost of foreclosures to San Francisco and its neighborhoods and to announce the launch of new statewide “Refund and Rebuild California” campaign, but to begin a drive to go door to door in Bayview to post signs and spread the word among neighborhood residents about a week of action Sept. 26-29. During the week of action, numerous organizations from throughout the Bay Area are planning direct action to hold “Wall Street accountable to Main Street” and show who the real villains are in this economic crisis, the Wall Street banks.

At the event today, Kevin Stein, from the California Reinvestment Coalition stated that "Irresponsible bank lending and foreclosure practices have harmed communities and cost us all greatly. Banks must be required to finally fix these problems and mitigate the costs to our communities by modifying loans, reducing loan principal for those in hardest hit communities like Bayview Hunters Point, repairing blighted properties, and compensating cities and foreclosure victims for the costs of wrongful foreclosures."

Studies, documentaries, reports and further evidence continues to come out showing how Wall Street banks crashed the economy, destroying local communities and wrecked state budgets like in California while banks are making record profits and giving away huge bonuses and not being held accountable.

Assessor Phil Ting added that "Wall Street's real estate and subprime crisis has devastated working families all across the country including San Francisco's most vulnerable neighborhoods. By doling loans which people couldn't afford and fueling real estate speculation, Wall Street's action wiped out many families life savings and home equity. No where has this been more prevalent than the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood and the Southern part of San Francisco. With home values dropping 30 to 50% and 300 foreclosures since 2007, this neighborhood needs our help. We need to ensure their predatory financial practices stop and San Francisco families get the assistance they deserve."

Communities across California are coming together to make Wall Street Banks pay for their predatory actions. With the launch of Refund and Reinvest in our Communities, the goals of the campaign are to:

1. Fix the economy by fixing the housing crisis through enacting a widespread mortgage principal reduction program, creating 300,000 California Jobs and injecting over $20 billion into the economy.

2. Restore needed state revenue by making Wall Street banks pay their fair share of taxes and closing tax loopholes exploited by rich corporations.

3. Rebuild California neighborhoods by helping homeowners and restoring revenue to local communities by penalizing banks for foreclosures and blight, renegotiating costly interest-rate swap deals and winning court-based mediation for homeowners.

We are calling on our local residents who want to join the campaign or get more information can call 877-633-9251 or visit www.MakeBanksPayCalifornia.com

Jackie Phillips, is a Bayview ACCE Member and a 60 year resident of Bayview Hunters Point. John Eller is the San Francisco Director of ACCE Director.