A First Step

Shirley L. Huntley

March 19, 2008

Editorial feature in The Times Ledger

The result was not a miracle. But it was an important beginning. Some day in the distant future, economists can figure out what exactly has gone wrong. To be certain, in better times many homeowners in southeast Queens were encouraged to take out adjustable-rate mortgages that soon became unaffordable. It's likely that the blame can be shared by the buyers, the banks and the brokers. But for now, the question is what can be done to help keep desperate families in their homes.

There may be a few entrepreneurs who will benefit from buying foreclosed homes at discount prices, but for the most part, in this crisis everyone loses. Banks and owners are finding in other parts of the country that the money owed on homes exceeds their resale value. Meanwhile, families watch helplessly as their credit ratings take a nosedive, along with their ability to make new purchases.

We applaud the senators for moving quickly to deal with this crisis. The future of southeast Queens and indeed every part of the borough is directly connected to the economic stability of the families who live here, especially those who own their new homes.

We trust that the elected and banking officials who came to Campus Magnet last week will continue to look for creative ways to assist the borough's at-risk families. They need to come up with a short-term strategy for the current crisis and a long-term plan to make sure this never happens again. But for now, we applaud their initiative.