Nearly 100,000 loans that allowed senior citizens to tap into their home equity have failed, blindsiding elderly borrowers and their families.
…In many cases, the worst toll has fallen on those ill-equipped to shoulder it: urban African Americans, many of whom worked for most of their lives, then found themselves struggling in retirement.
…These elderly homeowners were wooed into borrowing money through the special program by attractive sales pitches or a dire need for cash – or both. When they missed a paperwork deadline or fell behind on taxes or insurance, lenders moved swiftly to foreclose on the home. Those foreclosures wiped out hard-earned generational wealth built in the decades since the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
…Borrowers living near the poverty line in pockets of Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Florida, are among the hardest hit, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis of more than 1.3 million loan records.
…Consumer advocates said the analysis supports what they have complained about for years – that unscrupulous lenders targeted lower-income, black neighborhoods and encouraged elderly homeowners to borrow money while glossing over the risks and requirements.
USA TODAY found that reverse mortgages end in foreclosure six times more often in predominantly black neighborhoods than in neighborhoods that are 80% white.
Even comparing only poorer areas, black neighborhoods fare worse. In ZIP codes where most residents make less than $40,000, the analysis found reverse mortgage foreclosure rates were six times higher in black neighborhoods than in white ones.
…Regulators said actual evictions of seniors are rare. There’s no way to verify that, though, since HUD, the top government regulator of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans, does not sign off on evictions – or even count them.
…They work like this: Lenders appraise the value of a house and allow homeowners to borrow back money against that market value.
Borrowers can stop making monthly mortgage payments, and they can stay put for life, so long as they maintain the home and pay property taxes and insurance.
…At the end – a move out, death or default – the bank calls the loan due, to be paid back either by the sale of the home or an heir or homeowner repaying the loan money. Lenders and their investors make their money through origination fees that can top $15,000 with fees and mortgage insurance, and by charging interest on the loan balance.
…“Adult children that have been trying to take care of their mother or father or both get the idea that ‘When mom or dad passes, I’m going to have a little inheritance or get this place on the market,’ ” Nordgren said. “Then the death happens and … here comes the foreclosure.”
…Charles, [Frazier] died at 88 of a heart attack in the family home a few miles west of Roseland, in Beverly. At that point, in December 2017, an unpaid $4,351 property tax bill led to the default.
,,,,,Celink told Frazier in February that she could buy the house by paying off the loan’s balance: $209,053, including fees and interest. Frazier and her brother said it’s far more than they can afford to pay.
…Even when both husband and wife are old enough to qualify, reverse mortgage lenders often advise them to remove the younger spouse from loans and titles.
…Widows not on the title must meet various deadlines – at 90 and 120 days after the death – to provide their loan companies with death certificates and other documents.
Blair sent in paperwork she thought solved the problem. She discovered she had missed one document – changing the deed to her name within 90 days – months later after a foreclosure notice arrived in her mailbox.
…The suit alleged brokers targeted the minority homeowners for the “mortgage products and overpriced home repair work that they did not need or cannot afford” to capitalize on elderly widows unaccustomed to both the home’s finances and home repair.
Canada will ban many single-use plastic items by 2021, including bags, straws, cutlery and stirring sticks.
…It comes after the European Parliament passed a similar ban on single-use plastic items in late March, including a target to recycle 90% of plastic beverage bottles by 2029.
…”Less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada [is sent to be] recycled. Without a change in course, Canadians will throw away an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.”
…A report by the European Commission found that 80% of litter in the world’s oceans is plastic.
…Plastic has been found inside marine animals including [thing we eat seems like a reasonably conclusion but somehow is not listed in the animals the quote names.]
This plastic contamination comes from “microplastics” — particles smaller than five millimeters — which are making their way into our food, drinking water and even the air.
…The average person consumes as many as 1,769 particles of plastic every week just by drinking water — bottled or from the tap. But there could be large regional variations. It quotes a 2018 study that found twice as much plastic in water in the United States and India than in European or Indonesian tap water.
…Shellfish is the second biggest source of plastic ingestion, with the average person consuming as many as 182 microparticles — 0.5 grams — from this per week. The report says this is because “shellfish are eaten whole, including their digestive system, after a life in plastic polluted seas.”
…Globally, more than 330 million metric tons of plastic is produced each year, and global plastic production is expected to triple by 2050.
…[When] microplastics are shown to damage human health, it will be very difficult to remove them from the environment.
“Therefore we need to tackle plastic pollution at its very source [and] stop it from getting into the nature in the first place,” [Kavita Prakash-Mani, global conservation director at WWF International] told CNN, stressing that the priority should be reducing plastic production [emphasis: peanut gallery].
Many wealthy countries send their recyclable waste overseas because it’s cheap, helps meet recycling targets and reduces domestic landfill.
For developing countries taking in the rubbish, it’s a valuable source of income.
But contaminated plastic and rubbish that cannot be recycled often gets mixed in.
…Only a tiny fraction of all plastics ever produced has been recycled.
Often, materials that can’t be recycled end up being burned illegally, dumped in landfills or waterways, creating risks to the environment and public health.
….Until January 2018, China imported most of the world’s plastic waste.
But due to concerns about contamination and pollution, it declared it would no longer buy recycled plastic scrap that was not 99.5% pure.
…Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, India and Poland all took up the slack.
…But the rubbish arriving in these countries wasn’t sufficiently recyclable, and it has caused problems.
…”What the citizens of the UK believe they send for recycling is actually dumped in our country,” said Malaysian Minister Yeo Bee Yin.
…However, there is still an overwhelming demand for locations to send plastic and other waste to for recycling, and the challenge of how to dispose of it remains.
…In 2016, 235 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated globally.
On current trends, this could reach 417 million tonnes per year by 2030.
The first commercial facility that can extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then sell it for reuse opened earlier this month in Switzerland. …But critics say the technology uses too much energy and is too expensive.