Newark, New Jersey has become the first city in the country to officially approve a controversial plan that uses eminent domain to fight foreclosures and neighborhood blight.
Newark’s new mayor, Ras Baraka, introduced the resolution and the Newark Municipal Council, which passed it unanimously, according to a press release issued today by New Jersey Communities United (unitednj.org), which describes itself as a progressive grassroots community organization committed to building power for low and moderate income people, predominantly in Newark.
According to the release…
“Newark Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Local Principal Reduction Program for Families Facing Foreclosure Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka Leading Fight Against Foreclosure Crisis in Newark”
The program would allow homeowners trapped in certain type of mortgage, known as a Private Label Security or PLS Loans, to voluntarily participate in a program where the City purchases these mortgages from investors and repackages them at terms homeowners can afford. For most of the estimated 1,200 homeowners with these types of loans in Newark, the policy would save them from losing their homes to foreclosure.
Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka…
“Newark families have been absolutely devastated by the foreclosure crisis. Unless we take decisive action now, the situation will only get worse. As Mayor of Newark, I will aggressively move forward to implement the resolution passed by the Council. It will send a clear message that we will no longer accept the predatory lending and questionable foreclosure practices by banks. More importantly this policy will keep families in their homes and begin to reverse the blight created by vacant and abandoned houses that have already been lost to bank foreclosures.”