How to make a friend in Uganda. business consultant, NGO worker, former Peace Corps volunteer, activist: searching for sustainable solutions to eradicate extreme poverty

April 16, 2009

everything is green again.

I caught Michelle Kaufmann twittering about this ad from a 1945 issue of Popular Science. Looks much like my dream home.

an ad for a prefab solar home from 1945 issue of Popular Scie... on Twitpic

April 15, 2009

keeping residents in foreclosed homes

On Saturday I had the opportunity to canvass a neighborhood in Boston with an organization called “No One Leaves”. This advocacy group attempts to inform tenants of their rights so that they do not get evicted as a result of the systemic foreclosure crisis in many of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. The Crimson wrote a nice piece about the org a few months ago.

I visited a dozen homes in Hyde Park that rainy afternoon. Some were already vacant. Some had fresh notices from the bank on the door. Many had rain-soaked mail littering the stoop. We were only able to talk to a handful of residents. Their stories gave me hope.

At one of the first homes we visited, we met a woman who had recently lost her job. She invited us into her home and we sat down around her kitchen table to discuss her situation and offer support. Her husband is on disability. The bank has informed them that they have three months to leave their home because the owner has defaulted on his loan. We gave her information about a local community group and the number for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.

Not all of the residents we visited were so trusting. A bit later in the afternoon – feeling a bit wet and cold from the weather – my partner and I knocked on the door of a typical duplex. The man was instantly suspicious and refused to shake my outstretched hand. However, once we talked for a few minutes, he informed us that he was moving out anyway and that we should talk to the new neighbors. It turned out that the neighbors are related to the landlord. We gave them information that they could pass on. There are several community groups – including a new bank – that are attempting to help at-risk owners stay in their homes with a mortgage they can afford.

At one of the last homes we visited, we met an owner who had already successfully renegotiated out of an ARM into an affordable fixed-rate mortgage. We also gave her information about the community groups so that she could share her story and, perhaps, give other at-risk owners hope.

Powered by WordPress