One victory in a growing battle
By Curt Guyette
Rubie Curl-Pinkins sat smiling on the front porch of her Detroit home because … well, because she could sit on the front porch of her home.As the activists who helped her stave off eviction from the Holden Street property she’s called home for 45 years held a small rally Friday, Curl-Pinkins needed only three words to sum up her feelings about the turn of events.
“It’s a blessing,” said Curl-Pinkins, who gets around with the aid of a walker.
The point of the rally wasn’t just to celebrate the victory. Members of the group Moratorium Now! wanted to drive home the point that it was public pressure that helped Curl-Pinkins keep her home, and that even more public pressure will be needed if tens of thousands of other Michigan residents in the same sinking boat are also going to be able to win reprieves from the foreclosures facing them.
What activists such as attorney Jerry Goldberg and others want is for the public to get behind state Senate Bill 1306. Introduced by Sen. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), the legislation is seeking to provide a two-year moratorium on home foreclosures. Modeled on laws passed during the Great Depression, it is currently gathering dust as it sits waiting for a hearing before the Senate’s Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
Strong public pressure will be needed to counteract the lobbying of special interests — namely banks and mortgage companies — opposed to the measure, said Goldberg. There’s no shortage of people who’d benefit from the bill, and those ranks are growing larger every week.
As of July, Michigan had the seventh-highest foreclosure rate in the country with one filing for every 137 households, according to data compiled by RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosures. During the second quarter of this year, 32,868 Michigan properties were in foreclosure, according to published reports.
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