Fast Cities: Philadelphia

The Mortgage Foreclosure Protection Program

How do you save your home from foreclosure? Philadelphia's answer: communication. The city's Mortgage Foreclosure Protection Program relies on door-to-door outreach, free counseling, and meetings between those on the brink of losing their homes and their mortgage lenders. Judges serve as mediators. Since Mayor Michael Nutter's administration established the plan in June 2008, it has saved more than 900 home owners from foreclosure; 1,400 more are midrescue. More evidence of success: Philadelphia officials say the program inspired a provision in President Obama's $75 billion antiforeclosure plan that calls for judges to arbitrate negotiations between lenders and home owners.

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14 Comments

  • Mark Lenow

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  • Monica Hahn

    Daniel, thanks for an objective & balanced view. I'm not sure about the vision - but I would love to know what it is. I mean that with all sincerity, because I really do believe there's some potential here, but it's not out where I can see it.
    I have to say that I'm seeing signs of improvement. I'm certain my impressions are being influenced by the stellar weather we've been having lately, which really has nothing to do with how "fast" the city is but a lot to do with my attitude:) I had out of town visitors this weekend. They were from Colombia and haven't been to many U.S. cities but they found Philadelphia to be beautiful & charming. Mind you we had perfect weather, but it was also really clean almost everywhere we went. 2 days was just enough time to wear them out with all the usual tourist sites plus a few quaint neighborhood eateries & experiences, so they had a ball. I had a different guest Friday night when it was cloudy & disgustingly humid, and her impression was a little different. We went out in Queen Village & around South Street & the Delaware Riverfront, so she saw a dirtier Philly.
    I still think it's cleaner this summer that it has been. I think 2 things are impacting that. One is that more of the neighborhood associations are hiring private street sweepers. But I think the new "Big Belly" trashcans are helping too. They keep the trash contained instead of blowing around.
    My biggest issue stands - I just don't seem to meet many "fast" thinking people. They must be here, and I just need to look harder!

  • Daniel Wagaman

    Dear Monica,

    Ouch, that's harsh, and ambivalent in its precision, i.e. you live here, right? You sound like you're serving a sentence! I hope there's something redeeming about your stay here. Yikes! I'm glad you mentioned some positives in your second post.

    Dear Nick Gesualdi,

    Attacking people who criticize Philadelphia proves their point. You sound overly defensive and rather than counter with all the great parts of the city you deflect criticism by claiming at least Philadelphia isn't as ignorant and provincial as the mid-west (I won't tell Warren Buffet you said that). That statement insults both Philadelphia AND the mid-west. After that resounding acceptance of Monica's critique you offer a guided tour of the city. Who would take a tour with the angry local? Sounds scary!

    Yes, Philadelphia has problems. Every city has problems, but Philly has spirit, talent, and a vision. This is the largest, most affordable city on the east coast full of talented people who are willing to join in your vision and make a difference. We have more miles of bike lanes than any other city East of the Mississippi and ridership has doubled in the past two years. We have a growing young population, affordable housing stock, an overwhelming list of top-notch restaurants, four world class Universities, and a growing skyline. It's a great place to jump-start a fast company and start creating success.

    Don't sell the city short. It's got a lot going on and it's only getting better.

    Dear Abha Bhattarai,

    As much as I think the innovative mortgage solution Philadelphia is succeeding with let's get some fresh conversation going. It's no surprise that people aren't jumping up and down to talk about mortgage foreclosures. Is that the best post we can run for one of America's 12 Fast Cities?

    Let's hear some fresh news!

    Thanks!

  • Monica Hahn

    Gosh, Nick, I am sorry that I didn't list my qualifications for having an opinion or give Philly the credit it's due for what it did 200 years ago.
    I've lived here almost 3 years now. I grew up in the middle of the country and there's a reason I don't live there any more. Since then I've lived in 10 different cities & traveled to all but 3 of these United State & to 23 different countries, on every continent except Antarctica. Not the most well traveled person ever, but not the least either. And when I travel, I don't take a tour bus from one indistinguishably generic international chain hotel to another, I stay in local hotels & guest houses & spend as much time as possible with local people. I've found very few people in this city who have traveled any where near as much, or care to. If you put up a fence about where I76 turns into the turnpike & ran it up to New York & down to DC & east to the Atlantic, most people wouldn't even notice it because they never go past there anyway. The reason I didn't list all my "qualifications" in my 1st post is because I don't think being better traveled makes me a better person. But I have, as a result, grown to have a broader perspective & be more well informed than most of the people I've met here.
    What do I love about Philly, having seen all those places? It's one of the best places to eat if you can afford it. Most international cities have better cheap food, but in the moderate to expensive range Philly ranks very well. Compared to other cities this big, I love how compact & approachable the center of the city is. You can literally get familiar & find your way around in a few days. And I love that only the very center of it is all high-rise. I'm proud of its history, but the Declaration was signed over 200 years ago & while I'm incredibly impressed by all the "firsts" from that time that are celebrated & signed all over the place, I can't help but ask "what have you done for yourself lately?" The city seriously doesn't seem to be on the forefront of anything anymore, & that doesn't seem to bother most of its residents. And it's certainly not the leader it was in 1776.
    If I'm missing something - and I'd LOVE to be proven wrong - tell me where I should be looking. You would seriously be my hero if you helped me find it!

  • Nick Gesualdi

    Monica... I'm not sure where you're from or where you've been in the world, but I'm pretty sure that the birthplace of America which was considered one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world for a couple of centuries isn't "slow" - I'll give you dirty, I'm from there, but so is New York, Paris, Rome and London. Complacent...Ignorant? Have you ever been to the middle of this country, it's filled with the most apathetic, ignorant beings I've ever seen. Monica, get a life and open your eyes... maybe do some travling? Or just be a bit more intelligent when you make gross generalizations or statements about a place you probably spent a weekend in. Let me know if you need a tour guide, just because you saw the liberty bell doesn't mean you know Philly.

  • Nick Gesualdi

    Monica... I'm not sure where you're from or where you've been in the world, but I'm pretty sure that the birthplace of America which was considered one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world for a couple of centuries isn't "slow" - I'll give you dirty, I'm from there, but so is New York, Paris, Rome and London. Complacent...Ignorant? Have you ever been to the middle of this country, it's filled with the most apathetic, ignorant beings I've ever seen. Monica, get a life and open your eyes... maybe do some travling? Or just be a bit more intelligent when you make gross generalizations or statements about a place you probably spent a weekend in. Let me know if you need a tour guide, just because you saw the liberty bell doesn't mean you know Philly.

  • Nick Gesualdi

    Monica... I'm not sure where you're from or where you've been in the world, but I'm pretty sure that the birthplace of America which was considered one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world for a couple of centuries isn't "slow" - I'll give you dirty, I'm from there, but so is New York, Paris, Rome and London. Complacent...Ignorant? Have you ever been to the middle of this country, it's filled with the most apathetic, ignorant beings I've ever seen. Monica, get a life and open your eyes... maybe do some travling? Or just be a bit more intelligent when you make gross generalizations or statements about a place you probably spent a weekend in. Let me know if you need a tour guide, just because you saw the liberty bell doesn't mean you know Philly.

  • Monica Hahn

    Philly is perhaps the slowest city I've ever experienced. I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Nutter and his vision. He's inherited a real mess and timing stinks for finding resources to help him achieve it. But the city is backward, dirty, complacent & largely ignorant of the world outside its parochial little swamp.