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2008-03-27 20:41:00

City of Brotherly Love Halts Foreclosure Sheriff Sales

Philadelphia, March 27, 2008 - ACORN applauds Sheriff Green's announcement this morning to suspend Sheriff Sales for owner occupied homes with Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) loans. The action is effective immediately, for an indefinite period of time, according to a spokesman at ACORN.

"Sheriff John Green's decision to suspend the Sheriff sales will have a major positive impact on our city. His decision today to suspend Sheriff sales will give borrowers the breathing room to negotiate fixed loan modifications and send a real message to the lenders that they need to increase the number modifications in Philadelphia," said ACORN member and predatory lending victim Yajaira Rivera.

The announcement came immediately after Councilwoman Marian Tasco's and Councilman Curtis Jones' resolution calling on the Sheriff to freeze the Sheriff Sale's passed unanimously this morning. On Tuesday, 100 community members and borrowers rallied with Councilman Jones, Councilman Bill Green, and Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez in support of a moratorium.

“We are excited that Councilwoman Tasco, Councilman Jones, and the rest of our elected officials are acting aggressively to protect homeowners in Philadelphia,” said ACORN member and predatory lending victim Christina Jones. “The impact will be felt at across our city, not just by desperate homeowners, but also by those of us who are worried about increasing abandoned houses and decreasing property values. A moratorium is exactly what we need.”

The number of foreclosures is increasingly dramatically in Pennsylvania, with an expected 45,470 subprime foreclosures between the third quarter 2007 and the end of 2009. Over this same period of time, the subprime mortgage-related foreclosures will cost Pennsylvania $2.42 billion. The majority of these foreclosures are in the Philadelphia region. The impacts of this devastating crisis are being felt not only by the families themselves, but also by neighborhoods, cities and our economy as a whole. The number of vacant properties is growing, the property values of nearby properties are declining, and cities face a loss in property taxes.

Many of these foreclosures are the direct result of predatory lending - cases where brokers and/or lenders convinced borrowers to take out a risky, soon to be unaffordable, loans. The economic and social costs of this crisis to our state are serious enough to warrant emergency action to stem the tide of foreclosures. It is in Philadelphia’s interest to “stop the clock” for a period of time to allow families to get back on their feet financially and to encourage negotiated settlements – loan workouts - that move people into more affordable loans and thereby reduce the number of foreclosures.

(Pennsylvania ACORN, chartered in 1976, is made up of 25,500 families organized in 10 counties around the state, and is a state chapter of ACORN, Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 350,000 member families organized into 800 neighborhood chapters in 103 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members, including better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools.)

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