Activists want hold on Sheriff sales

March 25, 2008 8:37:07 PM PDT
Community activists are calling for a moratorium on Sheriff sales of homes whose owners are defaulting on their mortgage loans. Two years ago, Christina Jones got an adjustable rate mortgage. She says she had no idea what she was getting.

"I went from paying $400, which was a comfortable amount for me, to $750. Now six months later, it'll go up another 350," she said.

Her home, like hundreds of others every month in Philadelphia, is at risk of being foreclosed.

At a meeting in East Oak Lane, one of the handful of city neighborhoods hit especially hard by foreclosures, community activists came together to talk about their hope for a moratorium on sheriff sales.

"Some of these loans came to Philadelphia later than they did to other places, so certain cities have already been gutted and devastated by this crisis. We're saying we need to stop now and deal with this crisis before it gets even worse," said Ian Phillips of ACORN.

Some of the neighborhoods struggling the most with sub-prime loans and foreclosures include Logan, Ogontz, Fern Rock, East Germantown, South Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia.

"The magic number in city council is 9. Nine votes to pass a law that will finally put a moratorium on sheriff sales in the city of Philadelphia," said Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.

This Thursday, Jones says he'll introduce a resolution calling for the sheriff's office to indefinitely postpone sales of foreclosed homes. Those sales do bring revenue to the city.

"Either we'll stop it with a moratorium voluntarily through court action or we'll stop it through the budget process and we just won't fund it anymore," said Jones.

The Sheriff's office said it is open to the idea of a moratorium.