City Council Takes Its Sweet-Ass Time Helping Homeowners Struggling With Foreclosure
by Ansel Herz
on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM
Foreclosures happen week in and week out. Over 20,000 Seattle-area homeowners—17.4 percent of all households, according real estate firm Zillow—are underwater on their mortgages, meaning they're at particular risk of being tossed out of their homes. Activists from the two leading groups working on this issue locally, SAFE and Washington CAN, can bend your ear for hours with tragic tales of Seattle-area homeowners fighting vainly to stay in their homes. Phyllis Walsh, to take one example, killed herself two days before her eviction and complained about "foreclosure vultures" in her suicide note.
Not to worry, Seattle homeowners! Six years after the recession began, Nick Licata and the rest of the Seattle City Council have your backs. The council unanimously passed a resolution Monday creating an interdepartmental committee to explore the possibility of using eminent domain, loan swaps, or a land bank to address the foreclosure crisis. The committee will present its findings in March—one year after the council commissioned an expert report which outlined those options. It took the council six months to hear the report, and now it's taking another six months to have a new committee weigh the strategies suggested by the report.
I get that there's a process for lawmaking, but Christ—considering the council can pass emergency housing legislation to, say, regulate small lots or mandate density—how many more people have to lose their homes before the council actually does something?