The Oakland City Council has voted to explore using loans and negotiation to help residents in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure and to clean up vacant properties.
Oakland is suffering from the foreclosure crisis that is affecting the nation. Although the city cannot regulate the actions of lenders, it can manage the blight that comes with vacant properties and can use leverage to ask banks to back off on foreclosing.
“I have all the confidence that the city’s housing staff is going to proactively address this issue,” said Larry Hynson, policy analyst with ACORN, a community organization that counsels homeowners in trouble.
The foreclosure rate in Oakland is rising, according to City Attorney John Russo’s office. Russo has sponsored a new hotline, (510) BE-ALERT, for homeowners in trouble.
The resolution, which passed unanimously on Tuesday, urges banks to work with homeowners, possibly by turning adjustable-rate mortgages into more stable, fixed-rate mortgages. The resolution also requires city staff to look into the feasibility of providing city loans to buyers in trouble and requiring bank-owned, vacant properties to be managed so that blight and vandalism are avoided.