At Speak for We, housing advocate Michael Dahl writes passionately about Minnesota and national housing issues. I’ve known Michael since he was Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, and worked with him while he was Public Policy Director at HOME Line. He is a true advocate for the homeless and for affordable housing, and Speak for We is his outlet.
When Michael left HOME Line, he started Speak for We as a way to get his message out to a larger community. In addition to writing about housing, homelessness, and advocacy, Michael maintains “Hashtag Central” to monitor social justice conversations on Twitter, and his “Talk About Home” video project includes interviews of people on the street, advocates, and community leaders.
Check it out.
To raise money for its operating costs, HOME Line is keeping a treadmill turning for at least two days and two nights. You can watch all the Treadmill-A-Thon action on HOME Line’s live feed:
I will be keeping the treadmill turning from 3-4 CDT today. Or trying, anyway. If you want me to go faster, help me get closer to my goal of $3,000!
Here is why I am proud to be a part of HOME Line’s board of directors, why I donated, and why you should, too:
This year, HOME Line led the effort to pass the Tenants’ Bill of Rights, the most important tenants’ rights legislation in years. It also fielded thousands of calls, prevented dozens of evictions, and helped tenants get hundreds of thousands of dollars in security deposits and rent abatement–all for FREE!
But it takes money to keep the phones live, the volunteers fed, and the staff paid.
Every non-profit is feeling the effects of the economy, but only a few have such a direct and meaningful effect on Minnesota. HOME Line needs your help.
I am proud to be a part of HOME Line’s board of directors, and I want to see it succeed for many many more years. Please help us out by donating.
Sam’s Mo’ Money, No Problems Treadmill-A-Thon
The latest survey of front-line consumer agencies shows that while complaints went up, the resources to help consumers went down. 62% of the agencies reported that they received more complaints in 2008 than in 2007, and 47% of the agencies suffered budget cuts just prior to or during the survey period, with one being eliminated entirely.
Top consumer complaints for 2008, with 2008 ranking in 2007 in parenthesis:
- Auto: (1) Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes
- Home Improvement/Construction: (2) Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job
- Credit/Debt Collection: (3) Billing and fee disputes, mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt settlement, predatory lending, illegal or abusive collection tactics
- Utilities: (5) Service problems, billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas services
- Retail Sales: (4) False advertising, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, nondelivery
- Services: (9) Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform
- Household Goods: (6) Major appliances and furniture, problems with nondelivery, misrepresentations, faulty repairs
- Landlord/Tenant: (10) Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics
- (tie) Internet Sales: (7) Misrepresentations, nondelivery in online purchases; Home Solicitations: (8) Misrepresentations, nondelivery in door-to-door, telemarketing and mail solicitations, do-not-call violations
- Health Products and Services: (not in top 10 in 2007) misleading claims, failure to deliver
2008 Consumer Complaint Survey Report | Consumer Federation of America (CFA), National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators (NACAA), and North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI)
Local channel KARE 11 on the effect of rental foreclosures on tenants. This video features HOME Line, a Minnesota tenant advocacy hotline doing great work to help tenants dealing with their landlord’s foreclosures.
Never assume the next tenant will put utilities in their own name. Or if you move out and leave behind a roommate or sublease to someone, never assume they will do it, either.
When you move, make sure you call your utility providers to let them know you are moving and that they should remove your name from the account. You might want to follow up with a letter, as well, in case a dispute arises. If they need another name, give them the landlord’s.
Read More ⇒
Over-leveraged landlords are losing their rental properties in droves, and banks have no interest in being landlords. As a result, renters are often innocent victims of the foreclosure epidemic.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has decided to take measures into his own hands. He announced a moratorium on evictions for homes, apartment buildings, and condominiums facing mortgage foreclosure.
Mortgage foreclosure cases filed in Cook County are likely to exceed 43,000 this year, compared to some 18,000 in 2006, the sheriff said.
Among the consequences may be fewer mortgage loans.
“We have to have the ability to take over collateral upon default, and if we don’t have that assurance, or we think evictions won’t be made … we simply won’t make the loan,” Koch said of the moratorium.
For Minnesota renters, HOME Line has some helpful resources on the side effects of foreclosure, including a brochure (PDF link) and more extensive written materials (PDF link)
Sheriff in Chicago halts foreclosure evictions | Reuters (via Consumerist, everyone)
Nursing home evictions | Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog