Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday morning odds and ends

— The Midtown North Collaborative will host a one-day community market and Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (perfect for those of us who aren't early risers). Though it's late in the season for produce, the market will feature late falls items and "late fall items and baked goods including greens, sweet potatoes, pies, jams and jellies."

The market will be held in the parking lot of the Hollywood Community Center at 1560 N. Hollywood Street (north of Chelsea). The Midtown North Collaborative plans to begin a weekly small-scale farmers market next spring and through the summer.

— A painting by artist Danny Broadway graces this year's holiday card from the Church Health Center. The suggested gift from each card is $10 and the cards can be sent in memory or in honor of someone.

Public Relations and Communications Coordinator Jeff Hulett says, "Once we get their list of people they want to send the cards to, as well as what they want to say, we have an army of volunteers who hand-inscribe word for word what they want to say. And then we mail it for them."

For more information about the Church Health Center holiday cards, call 272-7170 or visit

— Local government is set to receive $12 million in HUD neighborhood stabilization grant money, only those funds can only be used to buy and renovate foreclosed properties, demolish blighted structures, and create land banks for redevelopment.

But with the economy the way it is, the idea of people buying property as a way out of the foreclosure crisis is a little suspect. AlterNet says to "Keep It Simple: Stop the Foreclosure Crisis with the Right to Rent."

From the story:

"Congress can temporarily modify the rules on foreclosure to give families facing foreclosure the right to rent their homes at the market rate for a substantial period of time. Rep. Raul Grijalva proposed such a change in the Saving Family Homes Act, which would allow homeowners the option to remain as renters for up to 20 years following a foreclosure.

This bill would immediately give families security in their home, so that if they like the home, the neighborhood, the school for their kids, they would have the option to stay in the house for a substantial period of time. This also has the great benefit for the neighborhood that homes will remain occupied."

It also gives banks an incentive to negotiate with the homeowner, something that, even now, people close to the crisis say banks are not eager to do.

— On the opposite side of the issue, USAToday has a story about several areas that escaped the mortgage crisis altogether. They are mostly small cities surrounded by rural areas that never saw any of the housing boom and where many of the residents own their home outright:

"Some mortgage-free clusters are in declining areas that have suffered job losses and dwindling populations for years. Residents who remain often have lived in their homes far longer than the conventional life of a mortgage.

Others are in thriving retirement communities popular with seniors who earned enough equity on the sale of their old homes to buy their retirement nests without borrowing money.

Being mortgage-free doesn't shelter people from a worldwide recession. Although their homes are paid for, they're still feeling the pain of a sinking stock market, threatened pensions, layoffs and credit squeeze."

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