Again it has been a long time since I have written you. While my progress toward obtaining a reverse mortgage without a bank is slow, it is exciting, too.
I'm in discussions with a group that I've been part of for decades about providing loan funding. My neighbors Raines, Betsy, and I are talking with land trusts about creating some type of revolving loan fund. We're excited by innovations like the Permanent Real Estate Co-op proposed by our legal beagle friends at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC). My life continues to be abundantly rich and a surprisingly, integrated journey.
For nearly three decades I have been a member of one small group who wants to invest more of our money locally. The group has an escrow account holding of hundreds of thousands of dollars of resisted war taxes and donations.
Especially since we found that the greenest of our socially responsible investments was JP Morgan Chase, we turned with greater conviction toward local investing. We are looking for security and a reasonable rate of return in a non-bank fund so we can best continue our work: to use the interest to give grants to local non-profits who provide services not adequately provided by the federal government.
Also exciting is my neighbor Betsy Morris's mission to create a vehicle to aid affordable, self-governing community housing in the SF Bay Area. In our national housing crisis, this area of investing is new and, in fact, nonexistent around our bay.
Our friend Janelle Orsi, founder of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, just this week published her manifesto advancing the creation of a legal housing structure that can separate out homeownership from massive profits that deprive us of affordable housing options. A Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (PREC) could be a tool that I could use to allow others to invest in my home (as part of a larger pool), providing me with an alternative to commercial banks and the federal reverse mortgage program. This is just getting started, but we are engaging with them to use my house as a pilot project.
I take heart that my longtime friends and partners will soon consider funding a mortgage-secured housing loan fund investment. Because Community Land Trusts and Community Loan Funds, part of the co-op movement, already facilitate small affordable housing loans, it is a likely facilitator for this perfect confluence of:
- my prospective reverse mortgage (through very local investing),
- alleviating some of our historic US housing crisis, especially in this innovative way of using resisted taxes whose goal is to aid federally unmet needs, such as low income housing. And it is my group who would initiate the move!
How, you say, could this integration exist?
The center of my development, i.e., becoming a thinking, integrated person, was resistance to war… the seed of questioning the status quo. From my Methodist upbringing leading to American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) service projects and my writing a paper on pacifism, I began to see connections…that US killing people linked to aspirations to empire that entailed slavery and other subjugation. I refused to pay for this and limited my income to below the taxable level to avoid risk of penalty and discovered the joys of simple living.