As the Republican presidential candidates debate the moral legitimacy of venture capital strategies, and the Occupy movement continues to challenge evictions, we have an important opportunity to elevate the foreclosure crisis and what must be done to address it. It's a moment to remind Americans that the causes of the crisis were misconduct in the lending industry and inadequate governmental rules and enforcement. And it's a chance to identify concrete, workable solutions.
While the current presidential debate may be more about gaining political advantage than about fixing problems, it taps into the experience and emotion of Americans around the country. And a range of available solutions exist. They include immediate steps like mandatory mediation, expanded housing counseling, and lease-to-own programs, but also ensuring that reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—another subject of the presidential debates—keep homeownership available to working Americans.
Finally, it's important to raise an issue that has not been discussed by the candidates or by President Obama: the way in which communities of color were disproportionately targeted for risky, subprime loans. Applying equal opportunity rules and rigorous enforcement to our lending and finance systems is another crucial next step.
This moment of public scrutiny and attention will not last long. By speaking out, we can connect it to the real facts about the crisis and real solutions to the problem.