June 30, 2008
“People are making assumptions that just certain kinds of people are in this position,” McCaskill said. “I think that people’s stereotypes kick in. I don’t think they realize that these distressed homes and families are all over the St. Louis area. From Chesterfield to South County to Warren County and St. Charles, there are homes facing foreclosure.”
McCaskill said the impact of the foreclosure crisis — which analysts predict could reach 3 million nationally — goes well beyond individual homeowners and is undermining the strength of the U.S. economy.
“There is this ripple effect that foreclosures have on the economy that we are focused on. This isn’t about a bailout for any individual. This is about what’s best for our economy so we don’t fall off the table into a full-blown depression,” she said.
“It’s hard for people because they’re used to operating within their lane. Can I pay my bills? And if I can pay my bills, why are we helping anybody who can’t pay their bills? This is not about staying in your lane. This is about our overall economic strength right now as a nation and the things we can do that help the credit markets stabilize, that help the dollar strengthen, that cut out some of the speculation in oil. All of those things need to happen, and this housing bill is just one part of that.”
McCaskill has sponsored a series of foreclosure clinics throughout Missouri, inviting nonprofit housing counselors, lenders and industry experts to share information and advice with homeowners who are concerned about their mortgages. The majority of those in attendance Saturday were the experts, which McCaskill attributed to the fact that many troubled borrowers are not comfortable attending a public gathering.
“What you don’t see in this room are the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are just like you,” she said to the homeowners in the assemblage. “We estimate up to 20,000 homes in Missouri will face foreclosure before the end of next year. So, imagine if we had 20,000 people in this room what it would look like. You are not in this alone. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of others out there that have the same kind of challenges.”