A small graveyard was set-up next to the Cuyahoga County Justice Center, Thursday afternoon. But, the tombstones were made out of Styrofoam, instead of marble, and they bore the names of Northeast Ohio communities. This symbolic action was staged by a coalition of neighborhood groups calling for a freeze on foreclosures. ideastream®'s David C. Barnett has more
Members of the Foreclosure Action Coalition had plenty of grave markers to pass out.
ORGANIZER CALLS OUT NAMES: Mount Pleasant...Euclid...Who wants Shaker?
Each one was inscribed with the number of foreclosed properties in that community. Spokesperson Bill Callahan said the mortgage meltdown was burying thousands of local homeowners. The point of this wake for lost homes was to call for judges to put a moratorium on further foreclosures, in order to explore alternatives to eviction.
BILL CALLAHAN: What we're really saying to the judges is that they stay the cases for three months. Judges in Philadelphia have done that and are basically staying foreclosure cases and sending them to what they call a conciliation process.
ANNETTE RIZZO: We've had a pretty decent success rate.
Philadelphia common pleas judge Annette Rizzo says the idea is to slow down the sale of the homes in order to take what she calls a "micro look" at each case.
ANNETTE RIZZO: This permits the parties to work out creative solutions, which hopefully may be home retention --- because that's the mission. But also, other alternatives which would ease the process and assist the homeowners in a transition to other living arrangements.
Bill Callahan says all 34 common pleas judges in Cuyahoga County have been asked to issue a foreclosure moratorium, but none have responded to the idea, so far.