In 2011, almost 2 million Americans entered the stressful and often embarrassing foreclosure process. Yes, some of these people made bad decisions about how much house they could afford, but many more were tricked or even coerced into mortgages that the Big Banks knew they could never pay off.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has been instrumental in exposing the deceitful and often fraudulent foreclosure practices in which these banks were, and continue to be, engaged. Since its beginning in September 2011, local occupiers and their online networks have helped to stop wrongful foreclosures on police officers, military veterans and the elderly.
Now, a coalition of activists from Detroit is sounding the call for a national moratorium on foreclosures, and challenging foreclosures and evictions in Michigan for the past five years.
“The conference will be an opportunity to share our experiences fighting foreclosures and evictions through direct actions,” reads the group’s website. “We will share legal strategies in challenging the banks in federal and state courts. And we will plan a campaign to raise and win the demand for a National Two Year Moratorium on Foreclosures and Foreclosure-Related evictions.”
Although the idea that the federal government would simply prohibit banks from pursuing foreclosures seems radical, it’s actually happened in America before.
In the 1930’s, 25 states enacted moratoriums on foreclosures. The Michigan Moratorium Act meant that anyone facing foreclosure got an automatic 5 year stay on the foreclosure, with a judge ordering a reasonable payment based on the homeowner’s ability to pay. These laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Home Building & Loan Building Association vs. Blaisdell, which held that the people’s right to survive during an economic emergency superseded the contract clause of the U.S. constitution.
Image Credit: Flickr – taberandrew