East Bay residents struggle with economy

September 25, 2008 7:22:14 PM PDT
It is still unclear whether the financial bailout package will include any significant help for the millions of Americans facing foreclosure, many of them in the Bay Area.

Unlike so many Antioch residents who have lost their homes to foreclosure, Michelle Roberson and Oliver Hodges still have their home, but only by making payments that have ballooned to $4,300 per month. They cannot hold on much longer.

Now they are watching as Congress and the president plan to bail out several major financial institutions, while perhaps leaving them to fend for themselves.

"I think it would be nice if they would help the people who are in foreclosure to get a bailout.," Roberson said. "What are they going to do with the people when we lose our homes?"

Elaine Brooks-Cox counsels families facing foreclosure in eastern Contra Costa County.

"I can't see them doing a bailout without including a portion of that for foreclosure, this is a national problem and it's not getting better," she said.

In downtown Antioch, small business owners who have suffered greatly during the foreclosure crisis wonder how a huge bailout of Wall Street firms could possibly help them.

Thomas West has owned a successful decorative glass business in Antioch for 10 years but he has not sold enough products to cover his rent since January.

"My thought is, 'why is it always the large companies that get the help from the government and never the small businesses,'" West said.

Devi Lanphere is the president of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.

"If they do not find ways to bring it so the people are readjusted on their mortgages, so they can stay in their homes and have money to spend, if we don't find ways that it's going to translate onto the street, it's not going to work," Lanphere said.

Friday, the Chamber is sponsoring an economic summit to discuss the dire impacts of the mortgage meltdown.


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