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Give homeowners incentive to stay

Guest perspective: Crisis presents opportunity for permanent affordable housing

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We -- as a nation, as neighbors and as financial institutions -- need to find a workable solution that keeps families in their homes. With 200,000 foreclosure notices going out to homeowners every month, we need to let families know that help is on the way. The House of Representatives (in a bill called the Housing Retention Act) and the Senate (in a bill called the Foreclosure Prevention Act) are attempting to deal with this problem. These bills have many positive attributes, but they fail the key test. For a family now facing foreclosure, neither of these bills contains strong enough incentives to get people to work things out with their lenders. So lots of families are giving up and moving. As a result, by the time either of these bills is enacted, hundreds of thousands of families already will have sent in their keys and turned off the heat. Let's look at these legislative proposals from the point of view of a typical family facing foreclosure. We will call them the...