Irvington Municipal Council to Vote on Resolution Authorizing Use of Eminent Domain to Purchase Toxic Mortgages

May 19, 2014

Irvington, NJ – The Irvington Municipal Council will vote on a resolution to authorize the Irvington Planning Board to move forward with a plan to use eminent domain as part of a redevelopment plan to purchase toxic mortgages in “Private Label Securities” (“PLS”) from lenders. This plan seeks to save homes that would otherwise likely fall into foreclosure. The plan will consider the purchase of 197 PLS mortgages at fair market value and refinance them so that families struggling to stave off foreclosure can keep their homes at rates they can afford. The plan will also head-off the vicious cycle of blight that abandoned and vacant bank-owned homes have created as a result of mass foreclosures.

WHERE: Irvington Municipal Building, 1 Civic Square, Irvington, NJ
WHEN: Tuesday, May 20th at 8:00 p.m.

New Jersey recently topped the list of states still struggling to overcome the foreclosure crisis. A recent report, "Underwater America: How the So-Called Housing Recovery is Bypassing Many Communities," released by the Haas Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, found that Newark, Elizabeth and Paterson rank #2, #3 and #4 in the country in the percentage of homes with “underwater mortgages,” where the value of the mortgage is greater than the value of the property. These New Jersey cities outrank hard hit cities like Detroit. North Jersey's high percentage of underwater mortgages means that thousands of homes in the region are at the brink of foreclosures.

“New Jerseyans continue to struggle in overcoming years of predatory lending practices that have led to a foreclosure crisis in communities across our nation, particularly in communities of color,” sad Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey. “Now the Township of Irvington is moving forward to save homes that were subject to these practices from slipping into foreclosure. Irvington has a right to consider this option as part of its overall efforts to prevent blight and decay in its communities.”

Yves Louis, one of the 197 homeowners who would directly benefit from the plan, said community organizers have been educating homeowners and residents about the plan for months.

“This plan will save my family’s home and it will positively impact housing values for all other homeowners in Irvington,” said Louis. “We’ve tried fighting the foreclosure crisis one home at a time, but bolder action is necessary if we truly intend to hold lenders accountable and save Irvington from more blight.”

“This plan is the right thing to do,” said Denise Vines, another homeowner trapped in a toxic PLS loan. “We hope it will pass and that the Municipal Council puts the needs of homeowners before the greed of Wall Street.”

Category: Economic Justice

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