housing crisis hits close to home… again

One of the first things President Obama did after he was elected in 2008 and subsequently took office in January of 2009 was put in place the Make Home Affordable program. It was a quick bit of legislation that was an attempt to stop the sucking chest wound that was the collapsing housing market.

It was a great idea but it had its problems… one of those being that even a year after its implementation there were only about 100,000 who were accepted into the program out of millions who qualified.

By some miracle, alignment of the planets or just dumb luck, The Deistette and I were accepted into the program in July of 2010. It brought us from the brink of losing our home and a whole host of other fallout (like our family splitting geographically) to keeping our home as well as making the slow, small steps to financial recovery.  Three years later we’re still struggling but we don’t have the specter of losing our house hovering over us.

Unfortunately I can’t say that for my neighbor.
About a week ago I told him I’d have to put my ladder on his side of the property line so I could paint the side of my house but that I’d be careful not to ruin the bushes there. He said, “oh that’s ok. We’ll be gone by then anyway.”

I was shocked and asked him what the hell happened. I thought he’d been approved for the Make Home Affordable program. He said the paper work got messed up (happened to me twice when we were trying) and when they reapplied they didn’t get approved. I’m sure he knew for a while but he told me only a week before he was supposed to be out.

I feel terrible for him. He seems really, really down… defeated, beaten. I’ve been there and know what it’s like. You feel ashamed, guilty and a crushing mental stress that is physically painful.

I’m not sure what they were doing in the time that they knew but I wonder if they were in denial or something because they didn’t really start making any movement toward leaving until about three days ago. Even with one day to go before the bank wanted him out, he still didn’t have a place where he, his wife and teenage stepson were going. Fortunately, the bank gave him a few days extension but it seems rather heartless. Why not give him an extra couple of weeks? I don’t know… they don’t have to be that way.

Anyway, I stepped into his house last night to help him load some bags of trash on the already four-foot pile of debris he had at the front curb and I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason they didn’t make more aggressive movement toward getting out is they must have simply been overwhelmed and stressed to just this side of the breaking point. You see they’ve lived there about eight years and in that kind of time they have just accumulated a bunch of stuff… a bunch of crap really. We all do… accumulate crap. Ever since The Deistette moved in and we got married we’ve been trying to slim down all the crap we have but it’s hard.

And so I imagine for my neighbor trying to get rid of all this stuff (much with emotional ties) was difficult to figure out where start but now it’s crunch time. If they don’t get out and have ALL of their stuff out by Friday at 1:00pm, they lose out on receiving a pretty good chunk of change. The bank said they would give them 2,000 dollars if they’re out by then. This would help them so much in getting a new place. It would go a long way toward deposits and first and last month’s rent.

But I’m really worried they’re not going to make it. There is so much crap, and trash and fucked up shit in their house I’m not sure they can do it. The Deistette is gonna try to get a friend of hers to go with her tomorrow to clean up and give momentum to the process of shoving everything out while both my neighbors are at work.

I feel so bad for them and it’s such a terrible spot to be.
There but by the Grace of God go I.


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