I started talking to some of them, as we sat around small preschool tables, on tiny chairs, eating together. I started telling them about my own family's share of problems, which really are not problems at all, compared to most. At the mere mention of finances coming up short, and my home being in foreclosure, it was as if there was permission in the room to share about this hush hush subject. Everyone had a story. One friend told me that her husband had not worked in three months. Another told me they were months behind in their mortgage. Still another feared losing her home.
Each woman effected by this time we are living in. Each woman representing a family she is a member of, trying to keep them all afloat. I left that lunch feeling both comforted and alarmed. I kept thinking over and over again as I drove home, that this "thing" that is happening, is bigger than me. It is bigger than my family. I am but one, of far too many. It made me angry. It made me worried about friends, and families, and people I don't even know. It made me feel sad for those suffering through this, and too ashamed to talk about it.
I can't stop talking about it. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't help but feel like people's hard times are causing a ripple effect in their lives, that they may very well be unable to ever recover from. I think that stinks. Actually, I think it sucks.
I don't have an answer, or even a suggestion on how to help anyone. I just know that I see too many empty houses. Too many families on public assistance. Too much worry. Too much fear. I read something yesterday. It was from the New York Times, from Christmas Day. It was discussing how the HAMP program (Homes Affordable Modification Program) laid out by the Treasury, has been largely ineffective. It states "As of mid-December HAMP has processed almost 520,000 permanent loan modifications. The panel estimated that by the time the program is finished, it will have prevented only 700,000 foreclosures over all-quite a contrast to the three to four million modifications that the Treasury anticipated when it rolled out it's plan. Up to 13 million foreclosures are expected to have occurred by 2012, the panel said".
13 million. That is a lot of people. That is a lot of families. I am no expert, but I bet all those people will cost tax payers way more money post- foreclosure, that maybe if they had gotten a wee bit of a break pre- foreclosure.
But who am I? A mother, seeing far too many empty houses. Reading about far too many families receiving public assistance. Having far too many conversations with hard working people, getting jerked around by their mortgage companies, and being powerless to stop it. Who am I? After all...I am in the middle of losing my home.
But you see, this "thing" here...it's bigger than me. It's bigger than most.