For some reason, housing issues don’t stay on the radar screens of hopefulness for very long. People just don’t seem to know what to do with those banks, government-supported finance institutions and realtors who took – and continue to take – so selfishly of most average people’s foundations of wealth.
I have a suggestion, and it’s related to my recent positing of 15 Empowerment Resolutions for 2015 (see below). It’s number 2, actually, though order isn’t really that important. I’m writing on them as I can with the hope of having a year’s discussion on realistic models of change.
Anyway, hEre is what I wrote as my #2 2015 resolution: “EMPTY HOUSES – Income equality ties us to financial institutions to buy and maintain a house and a home. Why not force proactive investments from the banks to prioritize living stability?”
First, if you need a good overview on the issue, read what Bill Moyers posted on the issue, one of President Obama’s big errors. (Read this piece folks, it’s enlightening!)
We need to require that banks or real estate investors who sit on empty property – often in blighted neighborhoods – reset their prices for these places back at pre-meltdown appraisal levels. Then they must be made to give commensurate loans to individuals that include a right for owners past, present or future to “claw back” unreasonable forces that seek to hurt or exploit their investments over a period of five years. The banks are profiting massively from incentives to force people out of their homes. Why can’t we get TARGETED gifts of our own to right their wrongs? (Do you know that the bank service agents, as incentives to derail foreclosure adjustments, we given gift cards from Target to derail the efforts of consumers to rescue their homes? No kidding!)
But it even forcing this kind of pull-back economic provision isn’t enough. To ensure that the banks and financiers play fairly, they must be made to identify Neighborhood Impact Zones (since they and the government like these kinds of designations) that are designated to receive any artificial profits that happen from finance game playing while the region resets it’s fairness. Such steps, by the way, are not that different from CLAW BACK provisions in sophisticated corporate contracts when cheating occurs.
I think an approach like this would have the impact of creating countervailing force against the tendency of housing/home profiteers to divert away investment benefits in affordable housing districts. See, we know simple ownership doesn’t provide an automatic voice in the housing agreements once consumers are on the hook. Developers normally come in, invest, and drive locals and affordability away, and the banks literally give their employees gifts to favor profits for them over home stability. My proposed rates pull these forces back under control.
It will take some smart thinking, but it will work. Don’t believe me? Prove it. The market is fighting to put social and community purpose into financial spreadsheets. It’s called Impact Investing. Why can’t our otherwise empty neighborhoods be the proactive players in using these interests to recapture their own?
HERE ARE THE REMAINING 2015 Empowerment Resolutions: