Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

A LETTER FROM SENATOR SCHUMER AND MY RESPONSE


I want to share with our readers a letter that I received from New York State Senator, Honorable Charles E. Schumer. I think it is instructive and reveal what, at least, one of our representatives is doing.

Dear Rev. Daughtry:

I write to share some thoughts with you regarding the ongoing subprime home loan crises. Unfortunately, the subprime mortgages meltdown and resulting credit crunch crises show no signs of relenting. In fact, as we can see, the latest numbers reveal that the troubling trend is likely to continue unabated if no measures are taken.

The foreclosure waves that threaten homeownership for so many New Yorkers and now threatens our boarder economy, was fueled by rampant predatory lending practices that have left millions of American homeowners stuck in unaffordable and unfair subprime loans. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, and estimated 3.5 million foreclosures are predicted over the next four years. For thousands of New Yorkers, the American dream of homeownership was built on a fragile and unsustainable financial foundation that is starting to crumble.

Along with my colleagues in Congress, we have taken several measures to address this issue:

First, we are pushing for emergency funding to be included in the Senate Stimulus Package for non-profit housing counselors working to save homes across the nation.

Second, Senators Brown, Casey and I – with critical help from Senator Murray – got $180 million in the Appropriations Bill for Housing Counseling Organizations that can provide help today for homeowners at risk. But with the overwhelming numbers entering into foreclosure around the country, we need more funding and we need it soon. If the Administration chose to spend just $200,000 million of the $350,000 millions we now spend DAILY in Iraq, we could help over 130,000 families in danger of losing their homes with counseling.

Third, we have taken action to pass the FHA Modernization bill. This legislation makes several important changes to FHA, including adjustments to down payment requirements, loan limits, and underwriting standards to give the FHA more flexibility to assist subprime borrowers with safe and sustainable financing alternatives before their loans reset to unaffordable rates.

Fourth, we are pushing for greater involvement by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help struggling borrowers. I have supported legislation to lift the portfolio and raise the conforming loan limits so that these organizations can provide additional assistance. As a result of these efforts, the Stimulus legislation being considered in Congress contains temporary conforming loans limits increases that will help high-cost states like New York. The legislation is based on the premise that in troubled market times like these, when private firms are unwilling or incapable of providing financing to help subprime borrowers, it is appropriate and necessary for the government-sponsored enterprises to step in and provide liquidity.

Many homeowners are finding themselves on shaky foundations because of risky subprime mortgage loans. Thousands of middle and lower income New Yorkers were tricked into taking out these subprime loans, even though the loans themselves are mathematically designed to fail them. I have introduced a bill to create “Schumer Box” that will state the terms of the mortgage deal in an easy-to-read format that must be signed by both the borrower and the lender. This will help borrowers better protect themselves from unscrupulous and predatory lending practices by mandating that the lender disclose key details of the loan at signing..

Additionally, I have spearheaded the effort to establish a National Regulatory System for Mortgage Brokers. The subprime lending business has become and unregulated mess and a new authority is needed to regulate rogue mortgage lenders and brokers who operates below the radar of federal regulators. My plan will address the gaps in mortgage lending regulations and create a national regulatory system for ALL mortgage brokers and loan officers, including those at non-bank companies. Second, my plan will eliminate these “Liar” Loans. Finally, we should establish a suitability standard for borrowers so that they will never issue a loan that the borrower cannot afford. It will also prohibit stated-income or low documentation loans, and “pick a payment” options that are used to deceive borrowers into signing their dream of homeownership down the drain.

I strongly believe that organizations that dedicate their efforts to caring for the elderly, educating our children, providing food to families and protecting our streets are essential to the wellbeing of New York’s communities. It is my hope that you will continue to serve our communities and work to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers…”

MY RESPONSE:

Dear Senator Schumer:

Thank you for your letter date January 31, 2008, regarding Mortgage Foreclosures and Predatory Lending and your response to the issue. I commend you for your efforts in these deeply serious crises. This is my 50th year serving as Pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn (42 of those 50 years I have served as Pastor and the National Presiding Minister of the House of the Lord Churches). During those years, I have addressed countless crises; however, I put among the worst the present crises. As you have noted, it has far-reaching disastrous consequences for our families, communities and country.

To address these crises, we have channeled the concern, passion, energy and ideas that we witness in our weekly programs in the Timbuktu Learning Center (TLC) at the House of the Lord Church into an organization we named, OPERATION LIFE LINE. Operation Life Line is sponsored by the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) and the Alonzo Daughtry Family Life Services (ADFLS), both nonprofit, 501(c) 3 organizations. The committees we have formed includes; Court Appearance, Direct Action, Financial Literacy and Money Management, Government Relations (nonpartisan) Health and Social Service, Legal, Program, etc
Finally, again we thank you for your consistent, compassionate stewardship…

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm to 9pm.

On Thursday, February 7, 2007, at 7pm in the Timbuktu Learning, Operation Life Line (OLL) will host it 4th Community Forum on Mortgage Foreclosures, Predatory Lending, Debt Restructuring and Money Management. OLL is cosponsored by the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) and the Alonzo Daughtry Family Life Services (ADFLS). At this Forum we will hear a response from the lending institutions/banks.

Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures, predatory lending and/or sub prime lending.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.

Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @ www.holnj.org.

For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord Church @ (718) 596-1991.