Community Gathers To Support Foreclosure Mediation Law

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A group of Kansas Citians hope to support a new foreclosure mediation law in Missouri.

The devastating affects of foreclosure on urban core neighborhoods is one of the issues bringing people together at Union Station Tuesday, supporting a campaign to pass a mediation law in Missouri to help more homeowners stay in their houses.

From the day homeowners receive foreclosure notices, they can be evicted in as few as 38 days in Missouri.  The group Communities Creating Opportunity wants to change that.

As Aleshia Drake walks down the block in Kansas City’s Washington Wheatley neighborhood where she grew up, she can’t believe what she’s seeing.  Only three houses on Agnes remain occupied.  The others are vacant because of foreclosures.

They’ve been ransacked by thieves, become a dumping ground for trash, and a breeding ground for drug dealers.  Aleshia believes none of this would have happened if the people who used to live here were not forced to leave.

“If there was mandatory mediation where lender and homeowner could come together at the table before the foreclosure process, I do believe that a lot of these homes would still be occupied by home owners,” Drake said.

For more than 20 years, Mary Rabon says she had the perfect next door neighbor, someone who took care of his property and looked out for other neighbors.  But since he was forced out in a foreclosure, problems started moving in.

“The home has been empty for most of the time that he’s been gone,” Rabon said. “We’ve had a lot of those kinds of problems that foreclosure brings to a neighborhood. With illegal dumping, theft and drug dealers trying to move in and those types of things.”

A lender tried to foreclose on Rabon, but she says lawyers helped her successfully fight it off.  She says a mediation law would give people time to get caught up on their mortgages while making the foreclosure process more humane.

In the end, she says lenders, home buyers and neighbors all benefit from working out deals to keep people in their homes.

More than 1,000 people are expected to meeting with elected and civic leaders at Tuesday’s forum.  The agenda includes economic education, health care costs and immigration issues.

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