Thursday, May 10, 2012

More housing anger

Ravings: It's been a really stressful few weeks. My anger is about to boil over at any given moment of the day, so I haven't been able to write this blog in any meaningful manner. I have several posts in queue, but haven’t been able to polish them enough to post them. I am keeping track of the little we are cooking, and I promise to get caught up. I hastily typed up an angry letter to Governor Kasich today and thought I share it here.

Dear Governor Kasich,

I am writing to you because I do not know who else to turn to. I am angry beyond words and want things to change. I am an intelligent, educated, professional woman and I am at a loss for what to do. I purchased a home 12 years ago in a modest neighborhood for what I could afford, which was considerably less than what the bank was willing to loan me. I knew my own financial situation and didn’t want to extend myself beyond my means. I also wanted to be prepared for any “just in case” scenario. I have had setbacks, but have always been financially responsible, making sure that I paid my mortgage payment in full and on time every single month. In fact most months I pay a bit more than my monthly payment.

Since the housing crisis began my neighborhood has become a war zone. There is frequent fighting, yelling, screeching cars in the middle of the night, often resulting in the police being called to a neighbor’s home, waking us all up at all hours. Recently our neighbor’s house and car were set on fire late in the evening. Gang violence, random shootings, and most recently a woman being stabbed to death on her back porch less than two blocks from my home are becoming the norm. My husband and I desperately want out of this neighborhood, but we are stuck. The worst part of it is that we are in this situation through no fault of our own!

We both have established retirement accounts and a fairly good safety net in our savings, but even if we drained our savings we can’t leave our home responsibly. Even after 12 years of paying the mortgage, our home is currently worth about half of what we still owe. We don’t qualify for any assistance programs because we aren’t behind on our mortgage. To add insult to injury, we still have to pay the monthly mortgage insurance premiums, despite 12 years of faithful payment, because our house in now worth less than our car!

We have spoken with a realtor and there is no way that our available cash will allow us to sell our home at market value and be able to pay the difference of what we owe and all the closing costs. I have contacted my mortgage company, who was unable and/or unwilling to work with us. They would be willing to do a short sale, but only at the cost of ruining my credit. It seems a bit unfair that I should have to ruin my excellent credit rating in order to move my family to a safer neighborhood for a problem that I neither created nor contributed to.

Why aren’t there any programs to help the responsible home owner? Why are we being asked to shoulder the burden for the bad behavior and decision making of others? I have worked my entire life for the betterment of society, knowing that I would never strike it rich as a social worker, but hoping that my hard work and dedication to doing the right thing would allow me a safe and comfortable life.

I feel like our options are to continue to live where we are and put our physical and mental well being at risk or to become part of the problem by walking away from our mortgage. I want to be responsible, but I also want to feel safe. I shouldn’t have to choose.

I don't know how to make the whole thing indent yet. One more thing I need to work on!

Cravings: Because my husband is so amazing and I've been overwhelmed by all this stress, he made me dinner! I told you he has the ability, he just likes to deny it most of the time. He handles stress so much better than I do. He doesn't take time to worry. He just takes action. He balances my tendency toward anxiety and pulls me back to reality.

Unfortunately, he doesn't ever remember what he puts into things as he cooks. He just pulls things out of cupboards and adds until he thinks it tastes good. It generally does, but it makes it impossible to blog about or even recreate. But what a sweetie!

1 comment:

Dannette said...

For being a hastily written letter, it's pretty darn good! I hope you send it and CC The Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, the Cincinnati Enquirer, your mayor, your congressmen, and anyone else of importance you can think of. Oh, and post it on Facebook. This thing should go viral!