Local realtors are hosting a “Town Hall” forum tonight to discuss the pitfalls of the city’s foreclosure prevention program, Richmond Cares. The groundbreaking plan has drawn fierce opposition from real estate interests, banks, and investment firms. It has also cost the city millions of dollars in lost bond revenues.
Still, supporters say the program is necessary to keep hundreds of underwater homeowners current on their mortgage payments. “A lot of people told me they’re going to move out of the city if the program doesn’t happen,” said Melvin Willis, an organizer with the Alliance of Californian’s for Community Empowerment, a non-profit that supports the program. “I don’t want to see this not go through and see those people leave this city.”
City leaders commitment to help struggling homeowners, even despite threats from powerful financial institutions, has inspired scores of activists across the country—from Irvington, New Jersey to Seattle, Washington. “Honestly, I think Richmond is re-writing the history books with this,” said Jose Vega, a caterer in Pittsburg, California. “One day we’ll look back and say, ‘these people did what needed to be done’.”
Vega is pushing Pittsburg and Oakland city council members in to adopt similar foreclosure prevention programs.
The event starts at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Richmond City Recreation Complex at 3230 Macdonald Ave.