Eminent Domain to Save Homes?

They're back.

Mortgage Resolution Partners has joined with another California city, Richmond this time, pushing a plan to use eminent domain to save homeowners who have underwater mortgages.

PBS News Hour covered the controversy over this plan in a fascinating segment last week. The opposition says the blight and vacant land the town has now would pale in comparison to the aftermath of going forward with the proposal, as investors and creditors would avoid Richmond as a whole. But the biggest proponent, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, wants to make history and keep residents in their homes.

It's not the first time this idea has been proposed.

In July 2012, Shelterforce editor Miriam Axel-Lute and NHI executive director Harold Simon wrote an article calling the idea “clever,” but cited the realities of the sheer number of hurdles it would face before coming to fruition.

NHI board member Peter Dreier wrote a detailed take on the meeting in which the Richmond city council voted in favor of moving forward with the plan, with a cheering section outnumbering the naysayers.

Could this work? Watch the video and tell us your thoughts!

Shelterforce is the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.


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