Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges
Concepts Terminology Acronyms
USA Housing mess info at end, shows that US financial industry is now too incompetent to function in USA, let alone any other nation use USA systems with any authority Alister William Macintyre research notes 02/17/2011 (last updated) Version 3.4

Table of Contents
Introduction (1 Feb 16)....................................................................................................................... 4 Key Resources (1 Feb 1)................................................................................................................. 6 Version History (1 Feb 17) ...................................................................................................7 Courtesy Reminder (1 Feb 17) ..................................................................................................9 Copying Tips (0 Sep 10)...........................................................................................................10 Haiti Housing Statistics (1 Feb 17) ............................................................................................. 10 Plan for Tent City Refugees (0 Nov 05) ................................................................................12 Still Unresolved thru 2011 (1 Feb 17) ....................................................................................14 Alternatives Pricing (0 Dec 28) ............................................................................................... 14 Strategic Housing Plan for 2011 (1 Feb 17) ..............................................................................15

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Ideological Divides over Haiti (0 Dec 13) .................................................................................15 Severe Weather (1 Feb 16)..................................................................................16 Haiti Severe Weather Shelter (0 Dec 28) ..........................................................................16 Protecting critical documents (1 Feb 17) ..........................................................................17 Problem Solving Model (1 Feb 07) ............................................................... 17 Ideology Political Divisions (1 Feb 17).....................................................18 Quake Rubble urgency (0 Oct 09).................................................................18 Solve Rubble by Fastest Economical Means (0 Oct 09).................................................19 Rubble is a means to an Economy end (0 Oct 09)..........................................................20 Land Owner Documents (0 Oct 20) .............................................................. 20 Infrastructure Delays (1 Jan 21) .........................................................................................21 Apparent orphan children (1 Feb 17).......................................................21 FOOD insecurity (0 Oct 09) .................................................................................23 Reconstruction Commission Split (1 Jan 06) ........................................................................24 Transitional Challenges (0 Oct 01).............................................................................................. 26 US IG evaluates USAID “Cash for Work” (0 Oct 01) .......................................................27 Recommendations of IG Audit of USAID CFW (0 Oct 01) ........................................28 Eviction Scandals (1 Feb 16) .......................................................................................................29 WATER Challenges (0 Nov 12)..................................................................................................31 Terminology Challenges (1 Jan 05) ............................................................................................. 31 Haiti Terminology Concepts (1 Feb 17) .........................................................................................32 C+ (1 Jan 11).........................................................................................................................33 D+ (0 Nov 15)......................................................................................................................34 E+ (0 Nov 15) ......................................................................................................................35 Eviction+ (0 Oct 20) ...........................................................................................................36 Forced Evictions+ (0 Oct 20) ............................................................................................ 37 G+ (0 Oct 01) .......................................................................................................................37 H+ (0 Nov 14)......................................................................................................................38 Land+ (0 Oct 20)..................................................................................................................39 N+ (0 Dec 26).......................................................................................................................40

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R+ (0 Dec 29) .......................................................................................................................40 Repair + (1 Jan 16) ...............................................................................................................42 S+ (0 Dec 26)........................................................................................................................42 T+ (0 Oct 01)........................................................................................................................44 U+ (0 Nov 14) ......................................................................................................................44 Al Mac Housing Research Notes (1 Feb 17) ........................................................................46 Suggested Reference Documents (1 Feb 17) ........................................................................46 World Bank (1 Feb 17) ........................................................................................................48 Mixed Terminology (1 Feb 17) ........................................................................................................49 Human Frailties (1 Jan 17) ...........................................................................................................50 Micro Finance (1 Feb 17) .............................................................................................................51 USA Housing Terminology (0 Nov 24)..........................................................................................53 US Banking Fraud + (0 Nov 24) ............................................................................................ 53 US Documentation Bungled + (0 Nov 24)...........................................................................54 US F+ (0 Nov 24).....................................................................................................................55 US Fraud + (0 Nov 24)............................................................................................................56 US Justice + (0 Nov 24)...........................................................................................................57 US MERS + (0 Nov 24) ..........................................................................................................58 US Put-Back + (0 Nov 24) ......................................................................................................59 US Toxic + (0 Nov 24) ............................................................................................................60 USA Toxic Housing Assets (0 Oct 10)...........................................................................................60 Forgery is Ok when Bank does it? (0 Oct 12) ......................................................................62 Risk of Error (0 Nov 14) .........................................................................................................62 New Orleans Snafu (0 Dec 05) ..........................................................................................63 Mortgage Investors (1 Jan 25).................................................................................................63 Home Investors (0 Dec 08).....................................................................................................63 Foreclosure FAQ (0 Oct 10) ...................................................................................................63 Economic Impact of Scandal (0 Oct 16) ...................................................................................66 MSNBC Update (0 Nov 17)....................................................................................................67 Washington DC will investigate (0 Oct 10) ...............................................................................68

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Nov 16 Congress Oversight Report (0 Nov 18).......................................................................69 Fire Dog Lake on CRS report (0 Nov 20) ............................................................................69 Nov 16 Senate Hearing (0 Nov 17) ............................................................................................ 70 Primary Actors (0 Nov 17)..................................................................................................70 Some of the problems mentioned: (0 Nov 17) ................................................................ 72 Property Law replaced by Banker Oligarchy (0 Nov 17) ...............................................73 Perception in Eye of Beholder (0 Nov 17).......................................................................73 Conflicts and Confusion (0 Nov 17) .................................................................................74 Solution Suggestions (0 Nov 17)........................................................................................75 Solutions Elusive (0 Nov 17).............................................................................................. 76 House Hearing (0 Nov 19)...........................................................................................................77 Foreclosure and US Courts (0 Oct 10).......................................................................................78 Toxic Foreclosure Documents (0 Oct 16) ............................................................................78 States at Greatest Risk of Housing Fraud (0 Oct 11)’ ....................................................79 Florida Fraudulent Foreclosures (0 Oct 10) .....................................................................79 Bank of America (0 Oct 12) ....................................................................................................80 GMAC (0 Oct 12).....................................................................................................................81 JP Morgan Chase (0 Oct 10) ...................................................................................................83 One West Bank (0 Oct 10) ......................................................................................................84 USA Foreclosure Statistics (0 Oct 10)........................................................................................84 FTC actions fight US crisis (0 Nov 19) ..........................................................................................84

Introduction (1 Feb 16)
Topic sub-titles end in a date signifying when that info last updated, so by viewing table of contents, we see where most recent input to these research notes, especially aiding people with copy of an earlier version. The digit, in front of the month, signifies year. Different aid organizations, foreign governments, UN agencies, international alliances like OAS, portions of Government of Haiti, have differing viewpoints on best way to handle various problems. In my opinion, what’s needed is for the representatives, of the different viewpoints, to hold a conference to debate the opposing ideas, with major news media coverage, settle on which solutions best, or have most consensus, figure out how to

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implement, fund, make legal within Haiti legislation, get the job done. Instead what’s happening is a war of words, finger pointing, misery perpetuated for disaster victims, nothing happens. These research notes try to communicate an understanding of individual challenges, and opposing viewpoints on how best to deal with them. Other research documents will go into more detail on some of the major issues. Journalists, Academics, other researchers and interested individuals, are advised to go to the primary sources which I cite in these research notes. I am not an expert on this stuff. I am just trying to wrap my mind around what the alleged experts and leaders say are good solutions, and try to think through the implications, to help avoid unintended consequences. First ½ of this document is on the Haiti housing disaster and related problems, 2nd ½ on USA housing disaster. A lot in common with the two disasters, both man made, although smaller number of actors responsible for the Haiti situation. Figuring this stuff out is a voyage of economic education for me. Ultimately I will probably split this info into two documents, one each Haiti and USA. But for now, many people are interested in both areas … what is this mess, and is there any practical solution? This “Glossary of Housing challenges in Haiti” research notes document focuses on understanding special terminology associated with:          Earthquake Rubble Debris Eviction Scandal Haiti Life Quality Statistics Housing Policy Human Rights Housing Land Owner Documentation Land Reform Secure Land Tenure Transitional Shelters

This is because I am in the process of splitting my research notes on the above topics into separate documents, with only one or two such topics in each one, where the new “Glossary Housing” will be a companion document to the entire new collection, containing info logically common to all of the Housing research notes documents. We all want to try to help Haiti even if we sometimes do not always agree on the methods or politics, or how we came to a current mess, as with inside our home nation’s politics. 1 Disagreement is more likely when it comes to what kind of balance is best between competing interests, and pros and cons of alternative solution paths. What belongs in this Glossary document are facts that most everyone can agree on, definitions of terminology, summary of challenges, academic and other theories. Analysis of
1

Phraseology patterned after a similar sentiment by Mike Perrett on Facebook. Thanks Mike.

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pro and con of alternative solutions to these challenges, that kind of content belongs in the research notes documents specific to each of the challenges or problems, since all solutions tend to be somewhat controversial, until final solution is selected and implemented. By splitting research notes by major topic, it makes it simpler to upload download just what is of interest to individual people, reduce sheer size of info to manage. Previously many of these research notes documents had their own glossary, which mainly duplicated similar info in the companion documents. Now they will individually reference this document’s availability with a very short statement. Users of my research hold Alister Wm. Macintyre harmless, and also the places I upload my research to, and agree that my copyright is reserved and that the information is available for the intended purpose of helping in the recovery of Haiti. Some of my research content is direct quotes from other sources. I try to give credit every time I do this.

Key Resources (1 Feb 1)
UN systems for keeping track of all their documents have been running into several problems, such as dependency on Google group features which are now going away, and many clusters not using the One Response site which has had some problems, not all spelled out to general public. Fall 2010, UN moving to a replacement site for documents on Haiti Relief efforts, modeled after http://pakresponse.info/

http://haiti.humanitarianresponse.info/ UN cluster primarily in charge of Housing solutions in Haiti, prior to permanent reconstruction, building back better: https://sites.google.com/site/shelterhaiti2010/ For people who wish to propose housing solutions for use in Haiti, where does above cluster want them to go, to offer their solutions? http://groups.google.com/group/haitisheltersolution Plan Haiti is where people can design replacement housing transparently, in accordance with international standards of building protection against earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters Haiti Reconstruction forum with links to World Bank, Haiti Government, Reconstruction Commission, etc. etc. not individually listed here because the sites are down more often than they are up. There is also a problem with the management of statistics. Some figure is stated as official, it gets copied all over the place, then when the official figures get updated, a lot of the copies are never corrected.

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Example, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive is now saying that more than 316,000 people died in the earthquake.2 This is up from the original Gov of Haiti estimate of 250,000 casualties, which gets perpetuated in many reports long after the new GoH estimate.

Version History (1 Feb 17)
My goal includes (I do not always succeed) is to be as factual as possible with the least political (controversial) content as possible. When the very roots of a problem are in fact political controversy, this can be very difficult. This is another reason to be very careful to attribute sources of where I get my alleged facts. Another goal is to split subject matter to avoid an omnibus document which has many unconnected topics, where some potential users are only interested in a handful of dimensions. When there is an inter-relationship of land tenure security, real estate ownership documentation, permission to enter property to deal with debris rubble, etc. these complexities can mean that one document needs to have it all, or the different documents closely linked to each other. This is an evolving effort how I deal with this. I plan to upload periodic updates of this research notes document (Glossary of Housing Challenges in Haiti), and sometimes some of my related Housing research and other reference documents to:          Yahoo Groups / HDRR = Haiti Disaster Recovery Research / Files / Recovery Challenges Haiti Prism which has developed some very economical and safe housing solutions to meet Haiti’s needs.3 HR = Haiti Rewired / Architecture for Haiti Group / Discussions / Definitions HR = Haiti Rewired / Building Housing Communities / Discussions / DeMystifying Barriers to Haiti Recovery HR = Haiti Rewired / Forum Discussions / Housing Reconstruction Challenges MPHISE = Medical and Public Health Information Sharing Environment / Forums / General Discussion Housing and Shelter forum in the Haiti Resilience System. http://www.haitiresiliencesystem.org/node/118 Many copies have been e-mailed when there are discussions and questions where I feel what is in here will answer many of the questions. Version 3.4 shared Feb-17 after I started info on Micro-Finance, expanded section between Haiti and USA, and added many minor updates through out. There is a

2 3

http://www.haitianinternet.com/articles.php/799 http://www.katrina.prizm.org/index.html

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      

serious reality that 1 million plus Haitians will continue to reside in tents and shacks through another Tropical Storm Season, without access to shelters in case of severe weather. Version 3.3 shared with www.prizm.org Jan 23 = 80 pages 654 k. Haiti Prizm is an NGO which has developed some very economical and safe housing solutions to meet Haiti’s needs.4 Version 3.1 shared with MPHISE Group helping Rolling Stone research Jan 8 = 77 pages 610 k Version 2.8 posted to HR-Architecture Group Nov 29 = 71 pages 578 k Version 2.7 posted to Yahoo-HDRR Nov 28-29 wee hours = 70 pages 557 k Version 2.6 posted to HR-Forum Nov 26-27 wee hours = 70 pages 576 k Major updates in November = wrap my head around USA Toxic Housing mess Version 2.2 posted to HR-BHC Nov 17 = 58 pages 485 k Major updates since version 1.3: o At the bottom, I added info about USA Housing Market Corruption, which is very similar to the Haiti Ownership mess, in that the people who live in the homes are screwed, the judicial system ensures that the alleged crooks make out like bandits, while the actors in charge of the paperwork explain all problems as “anyone can make a mistake” and “errors are unavoidable”. A mess has been created which could take many years or decades to clean up. If the USA is incapable of rapidly resolving this, what does that say about how long it will take to clean up the Haiti mess? o If and when the US scandal diminishes, I may move this to a separate research notes document. I use same footnote source repeatedly to document where I got info from, in case later re-write inserts additional text from some other source in-between.

   

Version 1.3 posted to HDRR Oct 10 = 32 pages 260 k Major Haiti updates since version 1.2 = Ideological Divides (new sections), and Eviction Scandals (new section). Version 1.2 posted to HR-BHC Oct 09 = 23 pages 210 k Major updates since Oct 04 = Inserted separate directory of Al Mac research notes documents relevant to Haiti housing challenges. Also note key resources addition, up top.

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http://www.katrina.prizm.org/index.html

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges  

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Version 1.1 to HDRR Oct 04 = deleted when Nov 28-29 replacement posted Major updates since Sep 30 = Transitional Challenges (new sections) Terminology Concepts (e.g. Economy, Redistribution of Wealth) which now have letter break dates to facilitate future illumination where additions from version to version, and Suggested Doc (e.g. World Bank newsletter). Version 1.0 posted to HR-BHC Sep 30 = 17 pages 160 k Contents of this research document were previously in other research notes which Al Mac is now restructuring for several reasons.

 

Courtesy Reminder (1 Feb 17)

We should refrain from using the contact information in UN NGO reports, and those I share in my research documents, to actually contact people who are working in Haiti, unless we have something specific to help them with that is ready to be implemented RIGHT NOW. If our solution cannot be implemented, because of some need, such as transportation, money, whatever, we should say so up front. When we cross post these reports to some public or semi-public site, we should either cut out all such contact information, and/or include a reminder to people about this courtesy need. This includes forwarding of e-mail, or cut posting it to some web site. Please chop out e-mail addresses of the participants, do not invite them to get spam. Notice I try to give credit to where I find the info, so people can go direct to the source for the latest story. We should also give credit to sources for other reasons, such as honoring their intellectual property. Relief workers on the ground are working 20+ hour days under frenetic conditions. To interrupt them, with anything other than direct assistance, in my opinion, is treason to their relief effort. If we are careless about not pointing this out any place we share the info, then there is a risk we are accessories to other people not being courteous, and this kind of information may become even more difficult to access in the future. In addition to the ethics of not disrupting the workers on the ground by contacting them, there are also ethics that we should do nothing that might put them at additional risk. They are already conducting their affairs in a manner that places themselves at risk of kidnapping, ambush, theft, and other serious events. I am still mentally grappling with whether there is anything I can do about that. Please just give some thought to such issues, when selecting what info to share in a public forum.

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Copying Tips (0 Sep 10)

In case there's info that you think is vital to share, but the document is READ only, and there's confidential info that ethics dictate should not be posted in a public manner. When inside some document, Control A normally copies the entire thing to clipboard. If you then paste that info to same kind of document, it is often (not always) intelligible, and the document that you created can be edited by you to remove the data that we think should not be shared. It probably would be smart to insert a brief statement about what you have done, including identification of original organization for anyone who has a need to see a copy of the entire original. Many of the latest documents have a mixture of English and French. For those of us not fluent in languages containing useful info, I use Google Translate http://translate.google.com/#en|ht| Adjust the selection from language to language Cut and paste into the top what you want translated Then you have in bottom a translation you can cut & paste what you want to use The process is not Star Trek Universal Translator, the quality is flawed, the results sometimes makes the speaker sound like a brain dead two year old, but it is intelligible. If the result is totally unintelligible, it probably means we guessed wrong on what 2 languages to translate between. I know people in the professional translation business, so let me know if you need those contacts.

Haiti Housing Statistics (1 Feb 17)
Info in perspective from UN-Habitat as of 2001: Urbanization    8 m Total population 36% Urban population 86% Slum population within Urban 4% Urban 4% Slum

Annual Population Growth Rates  

Slum Indicators

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges % population with access to     49% safe water 51% improved sanitation 65% sufficient living area 87% durable housing 45% public

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According to UN Habitat 2009,5 Land Ownership in Port au Prince:  o 4% in public is direct recognition (contract or authorization) consisting of  State housing projects with incomplete titling. Invasions with a fermage contract6 Invasions which are applying for a fermage contract at DGI 7 Invasions tacitly accepted by authorities o 41% in the public is indirect recognition (de facto) consisting of     55% private o 44% in the private is direct recognition (contract or authorization) consisting of    Land and/or houses with incomplete titling or limited transferability Land and/or houses subleased without the owner’s consent 8 Land and/or houses in informal subdivisions De facto Invasions Ownership, tenure or right to occupy land under legal dispute

o 6% in the private is indirect recognition (de facto) consisting of  o 5% in the private is Land in litigation or  There are many indicators that Haiti government is a fragile or even dysfunctional nation. The earthquake that shattered Haiti in last January left more than 3.7 million Haitians in need of humanitarian assistance. The quake not only leveled buildings, but damaged already

5
6 7

UN-HABITAT, Strategic Citywide Spatial Planning: A Situational Analysis of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2009.

See Fermage in the Terminology section … a land lease, with title to the home, option to buy the land later. DGI = Direction Générale des Impôts, one of several GoH agencies in the housing area. 8 Elsewhere we are told that of all land owner documentation, 5% is valid and 95% is bogus.

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weak institutions and exacerbated the acute challenges facing women and children stemming from decades of political insecurity and recurrent natural disasters in that country. 9 Prior to the earthquake, 42% of girls in urban areas aged 10-14 years old lived without parents. The numbers have increased since January leaving girls as young as 10 to provide for their younger siblings. According to OCHA10 Oct 12 Humanitarian Bulletin:11  There are 61,121 IDPs in 293 camps and sites in both Léogane and Gressier of which 53,962 are in Léogane. According to an IOM assessment of 72 of these camps, the majority of IDPs were renters before the earthquake and thus have no land to move to or houses which could be repaired or reconstructed. With no durable solution viable in the immediate term, the continuous presence of these IDPs living on privately owned land remains a cause for concern. In Gressier, Camp Shekinah was the most recent camp IDPs vacated following one-week deadline for camp residents as per the landowner. Support for 685 families in seven camps under threat of eviction continues in Jacmel, with negotiations between the international community and landowners and progress on developing a returnee package. A total of 11 camps have been reported under threat of eviction in Jacmel. The CCCM protection unit continues to mediate in eviction cases and is negotiating time extensions for IDPs in 57 camps. In Port-au-Prince CCCM carried out assessments on two sites in the commune of Cite Soleil in response to an eviction case in Delmas. Epidemiological research and analysis in camps continues, through a referral service established by the cluster, MSPP and CDC using data collected from hospitals, fixed and mobile clinics. On a weekly basis data is collected from around 40 camps and 12,000 clinical visits. Acute respiratory infections, suspected Malaria, and watery diarrhea account for the majority of clinic visits. There have been repeated reports of bites from animals suspected to have rabies and a supply of immunoglobulin has been made available at the PROMESS warehouse in Port-au-Prince.

Plan for Tent City Refugees (0 Nov 05)

Haiti Grassroots Watch asks "What is the plan for the 1.3 million homeless in the tent cities?" which has been a good question without good answers for going on 10 months now. The answer has a lot to do with the promised international aid which has not been

Relief Web Sep 21. (Source: OCHA/Relief Web) United Nations Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs. 11 Summary and Full PDF. (Source: OCHA/Relief Web)
9 10

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delivered. The UN structure functions on requests for funds for particular goals, whose implementers never know what money will come. Nine months after the catastrophic earthquake which killed some 300,000 and left 1.3 million homeless, as reports and articles denounce the terrible conditions in Haiti’s 1,354 squalid refugee camps, Haiti Grassroots Watch decided to look into the issue. • • • Is there a plan resettling the refugees, and if so, what is it? Who is in charge? Will it work?

A dozen interviews, scores of documents and many telephone calls later, Haiti Grassroots Watch discovered there actually does seem to be a plan. However, it is not readily accessible to the media or the Haitian public, it is so far only very loosely coordinated and thus far, is not overseen by any Haitian agency or ministry, making accountability difficult, if not impossible. This investigation is comprised of three articles and a sidebar, three videos, a radio documentary and an interview.12

Part 1 - Who is in charge and what is the plan? Part 2 – What are the challenges? Part 3 – Will it work? Sidebar – The "Cluster" system in Haiti
This kind of investigation reporting is extremely frustrating, because there are scores of such organizations each spending enormous effort to locate only part of a much larger picture, instead of cooperating with each other to share the work results. So we end up with a ton of reports, all of which are incomplete, misleading, lots of duplicated efforts, no solutions. These investigative techniques are much like the humanitarian NGOs themselves … an anarchy of different organizations largely incapable of mutual cooperation. I am seeing info in this investigation which was published by the humanitarian effort over 6 months ago, and this investigation is treating those initial plans like they are the only ones which exist. In fact, they are the only ones they found. This investigation met many closed doors. That makes total sense when leaders are bombarded by scores of parallel investigations by organizations they never heard of before.

http://haitigrassrootswatch.squarespace.com/haiti-grassroots-watch-engli/2010/9/27/what-is-the-plan-forhaitis-13-million-homeless.html
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Still Unresolved thru 2011 (1 Feb 17)

What the UN and major international NGOs are calling “Safe Housing” looks to me to be a cross between a tool shed and an out house, wooden shacks which are a step up from tents and tarps, but not good protection against tropical storms which are frequent visitors to Haiti. Some of them are built on flood plains. For more info about these risks, see my research notes “Weather Science Haiti” and the Science Maps section of my directory of sources of “Haiti Maps”. Under current plans, there will not be enough housing solutions by the end of the year 2011 to resolve Haiti's displacement crisis, says International Organization for Migration (IOM).13 "Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are likely still to be living in displacement camps by the end of 2011," Luca Dall'Oglio, IOM Haiti's Chief of Mission warned. 14 The warning comes early in 2010 as many partner agencies of IOM working on camp management are phasing out their operations. Facing increasing cost constraints and funding shortfalls, their departure is leading to a growing gap in capacity to provide services for those remaining in camps. Complicating the situation is a rising tide of camp evictions by private landowners. More than half of the displaced are living in camps established on private land with at least 99 of Haiti's 1152 camps currently under threat of eviction. As I detail elsewhere, the IOM is one of the major actors in Haiti with a responsibility to work with all actors towards workable solutions, instead of passively finger pointing at each other.

Alternatives Pricing (0 Dec 28)

Alan Scouten, writes in a Haiti Rewired discussion:15 Knowing that the emergency tents delivered to Haiti so far cost over $1000 each, 16 with a lifespan of less than a year,17 I know that a $750 ShelterONE, that is permanent equity to the recipient, is a better deal. But no matter what is sent from here-to-there, if there is no place to set it up, it will end up in the middle of a road median or warehoused along with the rest of the undistributed aid supplies.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/MDCS-8DYE8N?OpenDocument&clickid=headlines# (Source: OCHA/Relief Web) 14 OCHA Relief Web summary. http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/MDCS-8DYE8N?OpenDocument&rc=2&cc=hti 15http://haitirewired.wired.com/group/buildinghousingcommunities/forum/topics/demystifying-barriers-tohaiti 16 I do not know what the tents and tarps delivered to Haitian tent cities cost. I would be interested to see definitive figures. 17 According to official reports of the UN cluster doing the distributing, they last 3-4 months, then need to be replaced. Plus apparently they being replaced by the same quality.
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Strategic Housing Plan for 2011 (1 Feb 17)
Haiti Libre published what came from the International Reconstruction Commission: 18 Much of this duplicates what the Gov of Haiti has been quoted as asking on all along.  Reduce tent city population by moving 400,000 to better housing.

 Complete registration of all earthquake-affected households and identify a housing solution for each (return, reconstruction, relocation) along with a financial support mechanism.  Provide temporary housing or reinforced shelter to families still in camps.  Complete the strategic plan for urban redevelopment of Port au Prince (phase 1) and other important urban areas and outlines for financial plans.  Put in operation a credit program for single and multifamily housing.  Design and launch projects that provide financial and technical assistance to neighborhoods, and households for repair and reconstruction, in accordance with guidelines that reflect government policies (see details goals for 2011). Train several hundred builders in improved repair and reconstruction guidelines.

See the article, linked above, for lots more details. What’s missing from this picture? Do something about rent policies that lock out the poor from unaffordable housing. 19 Enforce ban on surprise evictions, won by Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti http://ijdh.org/ by OAS Human Rights Court. http://ijdh.org/archives/15406

Ideological Divides over Haiti (0 Dec 13)
Well meaning people can look at similar slices of the same data sets, and come to quite different views over what’s in the best interests of all concerned. If we are going to reach consensus on optimal solutions, we need to figure out how to bring the people with these different viewpoints together to reach some compromise solutions, then get them implemented. How long must the people of Haiti reside in tent cities, at risk of cholera and hurricanes until better quality housing can be delivered? Here is a Canadian radio show discussing that, and what alternatives are available.20

http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2033-haiti-reconstruction-i-housing-strategic-plan.html Recently explained, among other sources, by Action Aid http://www.actionaid.org/ in Full Report = http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/VVOS-8CSMN8/$File/full_report.pdf which Al Mac downloaded a copy of (some relief web links cannot be found months later) with name “Shelter ActionAid 2011 Jan 4”. (Source: OCHA/Relief Web) 20 http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/talk-tape/2010/12/07/the-new-homes-of-haiti/
18 19

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The following opinions are from Alister Wm Macintyre, student of Haiti, whose studies and awakening started when the Jan 2010 earthquake hit. As those studies advance, so may conclusions and opinions evolve. This info was also posted as Facebook notes, e-mail essay, other places, often re-written when new sharings.

Severe Weather (1 Feb 16)
We have witnessed multiple incidents of a disaster, aid rushing in, then because of the infrastructure damaged by the original incident, the whole disaster area is vulnerable to additional disasters, which are predictable when we compare multiple disaster responses to each other, and view history of the region which experienced the disaster. In my opinion, there is a need for a partnership between • Weather monitoring like US NHC (National Hurricane Center) except world wide partners • UN humanitarian and other global interventions • Computer science vendor(s) When there is a situation which will have a protracted need for aid to the area, such as Haiti now, Pakistan area now, certain crises in Africa, • Position a weather satellite over the troubled area, and install other weather forecast infrastructure, so that the troubled area can get high speed weather forecast information, and also timely reports of volcanoes going more active, earthquake risk detection, tsunamis, everything that can threaten the people when normal infrastructure kaput and they are living in skimpy shelters. Coordinate this with a weather ship which has the full range of weather science and public broadcasting services. • Establish a public announcement system which people can subscribe to over a diversity of consumer electronics, such as weather radios, mobile phones, internet ... this to broadcast updates of trouble brewing to lower risk of surprises ... transmit this in a diversity of languages, relevant to the region, and to the personnel providing aid. For additional information on this topic, see my research notes document “ Weather Science Haiti” and the Science Maps section of my directory of sources of “ Haiti Maps.”

Haiti Severe Weather Shelter (0 Dec 28)
UN Clusters have done a good job inspecting buildings to determine which are appropriate to protect Haitians in the event of a hurricane. They need to go the extra mile of making it easy for the population to know where they exist, and get to them in an emergency.

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Their failure to inform the Haitian public where this protection exists,21 has fueled conspiracy theory that this failure is deliberate.

Protecting critical documents (1 Feb 17)
The Red Cross has provided a useful service, in providing pouches for tent city occupants to store personal documents, away from the weather.22 It might be better if those people could protect those documents when faced with surprise eviction and gangs, and take them with them to the Severe Weather Shelters.

Problem Solving Model (1 Feb 07)
In my opinion, the people of Haiti ...land owners, Parliament, President, Prime Minister, displaced, UN, NGOs, international community (Diaspora, donors, OAS, CARICOM, World Bank) … they are perfectly capable of coming together and agreeing on what must be done. They did that March 2010 with scores of meetings of all stakeholders, to decide on the reconstruction plan, how to finance it, how to manage it. They can do the same thing to solve other national needs, if they so desire. The fact, that they are not doing so, indicates that the national will is not there to solve the problems. After solution selected, through this democratic process of all stakeholders, with mutual access to all concerns and proposals, which may mean need more than one meeting some stakeholders, strong leadership is required to get results through parliament (no changes by parliament contrary to other stakeholder consensus) and implementation, overcoming any unforeseen stumbling blocks. A question could be put to candidates, and to their various supporters, in upcoming Haitian elections: 1. Are you aware of the mess of meetings in March 2010 attended by representatives of all stakeholders, which led to the reconstruction plan? People from different areas of Haitian life came with different views, the compromised on a plan that they could live with, all the people who participated. Several groups did not directly participate, but provided dissenting opinion reports, whose content was eventually merged into the main plan. 2. If this model was to be followed to deal with some other Haiti challenge, such as land ownership security and clear title documentation, rubble debris, early warning system when bad weather coming, replacing UN military with Haitian doing the job,
21https://sites.google.com/site/ochahaiti24septstormresponse/home/severe-weather-community-shelters-

abris-d-urgence 22 http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EDIS-8CJMRR?OpenDocument (Source: OCHA/Relief Web)

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improving Haiti economy including agricultural, people getting paid for the work they do, restructure CEP so people have more confidence in its decisions (such as a mandate to explain them), and other issues ... would you agree this is a good model to follow, and would you support such an effort?

Now for some good news, check out the Haiti Emergency Housing Techniques Wiki.23

Ideology Political Divisions (1 Feb 17)
In US politics there is a concept of “unintended consequences.” This means that people, who should know better, make superficial judgments, without thinking through the consequences and implications of their decisions, then after their laws and mandates have been in effect for a while, and we all witness the horrible side effects, the originators plead ignorance, claiming it is not reasonable that they could have foreseen the consequences of their actions. We see this with legislators, and we see it when they question the captains of industry in the aftermath of economic disasters. Among ordinary people who lobby for legislation, we also see it. For example, there are those who are utterly opposed to both teenage pregnancies, and to providing youngsters with the kind of education which would help them reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies. I feel people with that ideology have two contradictory viewpoints, where they refuse to think through the contradiction, and come up with a better philosophy. When we witness such contradictions, and try to reason with those people, it is soon evident that they are in denial that there is anything to talk about. In my opinion, the Humanitarian relief effort also has far too many people with an ideology, which has severe consequences, and whose exponents are not interested in finding solutions to the ideological divides. In the sub-sections of this section on “Ideological Divides” I try to explain some examples of how I arrive at this conclusion. There is also baggage from past behaviors of a nation, now criticized by both patriots and those who are not necessarily our friends. For example, check out the Socialist Worker .org history of USA Imperialism in Haiti.24

Quake Rubble urgency (0 Oct 09)
Debris Rubble clearing – how long is reasonable to get the job done? Note my separate research notes document “Haiti Quake Rubble Debris” which explores size of challenge, some of the problems, various approaches being implemented,
23 24

http://heht.wikidot.com/ http://www.scribd.com/doc/36327970/Haiti-January-2010

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discussed. However, solving this problem, as with many others, can be frustrated when the people in charge have very different notions on what they are trying to accomplish. There is a trade-off that many actors struggle with. I happen to favor the first of these two choices, but leaders of my government’s efforts in Haiti appear to favor the second, and

governments are known to use strong arm tactics to impose their ideological views, in the absence of encouraging open discussion of alternatives.

Solve Rubble by Fastest Economical Means (0 Oct 09)
1. Is it better to get the rubble debris cleared from potential rebuilding sites as fast as possible, which means using a machinery solution? In other words, Haiti will be better served by putting the people in safer homes, with places where they can have good jobs, in the next few years, instead of waiting decades until the rubble can be cleared by hand. This approach is favored by supporters of beltway bandits, meaning sooner profits for companies from outside of Haiti. It is also supported by people who have no financial stake here, and are appalled at solution # 2 which says that hundreds of thousands, if

not millions of Haitians must be staked out in tent cities which are bulls eye targets of hurricane roulette for all of 2010 2011 and perhaps additional hurricane seasons.

Haiti property owners, who want quake survivors kicked off their alleged land, and don't care where they end up, if they applied their brains to the reality in Haiti, would probably favor this approach, because it would mean the quake survivors would in fact no longer be on the same land as the alleged land owners would have any title to, real or imagined, unless the proved owners were receiving guaranteed income in exchange for their land use, or eminent domain compensation. Remember that the total volume of rubble from the Haiti earthquake is astronomical compared to WTC of 9/11 (as shown by UN debris fact sheet which I have e-mailed various people), and remember how long it took to clear that by modern construction machinery and convoy of dump trucks. Look at Katrina aftermath ... that was 5 years ago, and the job is far from complete. Some estimate Katrina recovery at current rate would have been 20 years to get done, except Gulf Oil spill set that effort back. (According to the UN Debris fact sheet, Katrina debris was worse than Haiti earthquake.) How long will Haiti reconstruction take by comparison? Haiti reconstruction not being conducted as efficiently as Katrina recovery.

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Rubble is a means to an Economy end (0 Oct 09)
2. Is it better to get the rubble debris cleared using Haitian laborers via cash-for-work (CFW) so money flows into the economy? In other words, revitalizing the economy with stimulus money, bottom up, is more important than making it practical to rebuild the destroyed buildings, any time in the next few years, or decades. This approach is favored by many NGOs who would prefer Haiti to continue to be a Republic of NGOs for another 100 years, and by government reconstruction development leaders who approve NGO state-of-art. USA Inspector General did an audit of cash-for-work, in which it was clear that the IG thought solution # 1 was self-evident, and criticized USAID for taking us down the path of solution # 2.25 USAID is vehemently fighting this within US government, arguing that the IG does not understand Haiti reality. This is an ideological divide, where people do not

argue on the merits of their case, but by demonizing the intelligence of their opponents, a familiar pattern in US politics.

Land Owner Documents (0 Oct 20)
My separate research notes document “Haiti Land Tenure and Ownership

Documentation” explores competing views on how best to deal with this crisis.

At the global level, tenure issues fall under the Protection Cluster’s Sub-Working Group on Housing, Land and Property.26 Historically this cluster has emphasized legal reform over addressing the barriers to implementation faced by governments. However, the working group is moving towards a more nuanced approach to tenure security under the stewardship of UN-Habitat. With no single agency responsible for ensuring coordination between different UN clusters, and the huge volume of NGOs locked out from cluster participation, there is a risk of duplication and gaps. French, Canadian and US governments favor a top-down cadastre of legal tenure partly in the belief that legally owned land or property assets can facilitate access to credit where they can be used as collateral. Note that France and Quebec already have such a system. Opponents argue there is a risk that this approach will be costly, slow and inappropriate, may reinforce biases towards the most established and powerful formal owners able to produce documentation.27 They point out that ‘a strict asset-replacement approach to housing provision and a rush to confirm property rights through rapid adjudication and systematic titling programmes will not be appropriate to meet the housing needs of the majority of the affected population who are tenants and squatters rather than owners’.28

25

26
27 28

More info on this, in a separate chapter here, within Transitional Challenges. 95% of existing documentation is bogus, as documented elsewhere.
Thompson and Altidor, ‘A Framework for Housing Reconstruction’.

See https://sites.google.com/site/shelterhaiti2010/twig-1/land and Settlement.

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The approach so far, by the Humanitarian community, has been to develop beneficiary agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with municipalities to establish security of tenure for transitional shelter. From a legal perspective, MoUs and informal agreements have no official status as public notaries are rarely used. Risks of eviction for beneficiaries are therefore unclear. Although mayors have signed MoUs, they have no authority under Haitian law to sign off in relation to land issues, and may have strong personal or political interests which can bias decisions over land use. Mechanisms for addressing grievances are not in place and it is unclear whether municipalities can be engaged as mediators in land disputes. So basically the humanitarian community is using a new system which may not work, in place of a system which is known not to work, to deal with a crisis in the short term, which is no final solution .29
According to recent UN and other summary reports, permanent housing won’t start until August 2011. That gives them a year and a ½ after the Jan 2010 earthquake to come up with a workable solution. I predict failure to meet that scheduled deadline.

Infrastructure Delays (1 Jan 21)
The National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA) had begun building the first, wastewater treatment plant (station d’épuration) in Haiti with funding from the Spanish Government for an amount of $2 million in the locality of Titanyen. Work began at the end of November 2010 and was nearly 80% completed, then had to halt due to problems with land ownership policy.30

Apparent orphan children (1 Feb 17)
There are a ton of challenges for children in a disaster, where it will not be obvious to most people what the best solutions are. When someone disagrees with this, they probably are either a crook, or have failed to think through all the implications. When children are carried across borders to another nation, without the proper paperwork, they become stateless, with no documented citizenship in any nation. This makes them undocumented illegal immigrants or permanent second class citizens with ruined adult lives. History is full of stories of children reaching adulthood in some nation, only to find they have no citizenship rights, and they cannot return to their homeland. When we review the UN cluster reports on aid to Haiti, as of a year after the disaster, there are still thousands of children not yet re-united with their families, with the needs of children in general being largely ignored by policy making, and UN budgeting. They have a plan, but in the years it takes to implement, for some children the mental health implications are devastating.

29 30

Coordination and the tenure puzzle in Haiti by Kate Crawford, Emily Noden and Lizzie Babister,

CARE International UK in

Humanitarian Exchange October 2010. http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2177-haiti-spain-works-blocked-unacceptable.html

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There is an epidemic of rape, where children are among the most vulnerable. This is hitting both children separated from their families, and children with their families, because during the day families have to go hunt work, leaving kids in a tent city where there is no security. At night, most camps are without light, and they are regularly raided by gangs which know the police patrol schedule, so they skip the few hours when protection visits. Just because some people are a “church group” does not necessarily mean they are there for the good of the children. Some are pedophiles, some are missionary tourists ignorant of the culture they visiting. Some orphanages have good funding, but that is exception to rule in Haiti. Children have special nutrition needs according to age, and being malnutritioned for any length of time can hurt children development far worse than impact on adults. Most children, in the orphanages of nations in disasters, are not orphans. Some have been placed there by their parents for a variety of purposes (such as education and security) other than the traditional purpose of an orphanage. Many so-called orphanages are in fact fronts for criminal organizations. Many criminal organizations “rescue” children, so they can use them to raise funds, instead of working on best interests of the children. One viewpoint says "To hell with the well being of the children", keep them in horrible conditions, until the nation with the disaster is able to reunite orphans with family, which could be an eternity to rebuild that capability. Then only those, who cannot be reunited, become eligible for adoption. They do not actually use the phraseology I employ here, because they are in denial that their ideology has such consequences. Here is Save the Children making the case to reunite children with their families. 31 Other viewpoint says "To hell with the children who end up in slavery", let that abomination slave trade flourish, because we want to rescue a handful of children from the horrible conditions, and we are utterly opposed to any regulations that get in the way of ANYONE taking ANY children out of that horrible place. They do not actually use the phraseology I employ here, because they are in denial that there is such a thing as child slavery in this day and age, or that it is a big problem. These two groups periodically fire off PR that the news media picks up on. They never work together to try to solve the associated problems. For example, arrangements could be made to have “children at risk” TEMPORARILY spend a few years living in a foreign nation community, where they will get a bilingual education – both their home nation native language, and that of their temporary home. Security and proper nutrition are standard. Make arrangements for frequent contact with
31

Relief Web SC Summary; Full Report on Misguided Kindness. (Source: OCHA/Relief Web) Also here.

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back home. The plan all along would be to grant them dual citizenship, return home after both the disaster recovery has been mitigated to the point that going home is no longer to an “at risk” environment, and do so between school years, to minimize transition disruption. Yes, many nations do not recognize dual citizenship. This can be fixed. For example, arrangements could be made to have government sponsored services that look in on the welfare of adopted children, do so for foreign adoptees, with copies of the reports going back to the originating nations. If a family escapes inspection, issue arrest warrants for suspected kidnapping for the slave trade. There are additional nuances regarding the challenges of children in disasters in my research notes document “Haiti Housing (and other) Human Rights” (H3R).

FOOD insecurity (0 Oct 09)
There is a need to provide sufficient food to young children, so that they develop normally. This is regardless of their parents and family and friends etc. economic ability to provide for them, which might have been practical when the children were conceived, but then along comes a disaster like hurricane or earthquake which wipes out homes and livelihoods. There is a need to help a nation be self-sufficient, feed itself, clothe itself, have a balance of trade that is healthy. The ideologies of Haiti debate has been framed that we can have one or the other, but not both. This means that anyone who tries to explore if it is even possible to have both, gets demonized by both of the two dominant viewpoints. This is reminiscent of in the USA where the end goal might be green jobs where we have a good economy and good environment, at the same time. But the ideological divide was a leadership who felt that cleaning up the environment was the same as destroying great jobs, so what we needed to have was a reality where everyone had a great income, but lived in a hell of pollution, birth defects, everything contaminated. One group says "To hell with Haiti agriculture", we need to try to feed disaster victims, because malnutrition is crippling another generation of infants. They really do use this kind of language because they believe: 1. Agriculture policy is long range planning, which won’t much be disrupted by a temporary disaster, that we hope to get resolved as rapidly as possible. 2. There’s a disaster, we can fix things, then life goes on. This group is in denial that the state-of-art of reacting to serial disasters around the world is such that for decades, the disaster aid groups have been perpetuating nations in a condition of dependency upon their aid. If they continue to be in charge of Haiti disaster recovery, the Haiti of 10 years from now will look just like the Haiti of today .

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Other group says "To hell with Haitian disaster victims", we need to rebuild Haitian agriculture. That philosophy is now responsible for food aid having been cut off from millions of survivors of the Jan earth quake, but they still not satisfied. There's food aid going to some 50,000 infants who might otherwise starve to death, or suffer long term developmental problems due to protracted malnutrition. This group wants that to happen, because nothing is more important to them than the economic well being of the Haitian farmers. They do not use the kind of language of my example, because they recognize its divisive nature, and they are intentionally ignorant of the consequences of having young children exposed to continuous malnutrition, or they think of those children as being slaves of the future, who do not need the nutrition needed to grow a brain. These two groups periodically fire off PR that the news media picks up on. They never work together to try to solve the associated problems. Mainstream news media never provides a debate between these two view points, to seek some middle ground. For example, the NGOs could purchase 100% of the Farmer agricultural output for use in food distribution to earthquake victims, only import if not enough from that source. Any excess Haitian output, help Haitian economy export it. If an NGO or whatever says "We cannot do this because of some law of our host nation" then complain at UN that USA or whatever nation bans this because of some specified law such as the US Bumpers Amendment, and keep after that nation until that law is rescinded. Here they are going that round again.

Reconstruction Commission Split (1 Jan 06)
SOURCE OF IHRC "Minority Opinion" LETTER http://www.therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/69-more-blog-posts-fromnorman-girvan/524-protest-letter-from-haitian-ihrc-members-to-commission-co-chairs PROTEST LETTER FROM HAITIAN IHRC MEMBERS TO COMMISSION COCHAIRS Source: Le Matin Newspaper. Unofficial translation from the French by Isabeau Doucet Santo-Domingo, 14 December, 2010 Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, Co-Chair President William Jefferson Clinton, Co-chair Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission alan scouten commented on Derek Xava's group "Architecture of Haiti" on Haiti Rewired -----------ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF HAITIAN MEMBERS’ OF HIRC SPEECH: Dear Mr. Co-Presidents: We the 12 Haitian Members of the Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission (HIRC)

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present, in regard to the experience we have accumulated within the aforementioned commission since its creation, feel a duty to express concern about the strategic framework put forward in today’s agenda. The 12 Haitian members present here today feel completely disconnected from the life of the HIRC. Even in this IT era, there exists a critical deficit of communication and information flow on the part of the Executive Secretariat and even more so with the Executive Committee despite our role in the governing structure of this institution, we have to this day, received no report on the activities of the HIRC. Contact is established only the day before board meetings. As a result, as members, we have no time to read, analyze, or digest the information and even less time to react intelligently to the projects which are being presented to us at the last minute despite all the official complaints and all the promises made to address this issue. Moreover, we are unable to answer, for lack of essential information, elementary questions from the public or from any interested persons. A good number of interlocutors think that there is a complete hold on information. Mr. Co-Presidents, No effective functional bond exists between the Executive Secretariat and the Haitian section of the council, or between the latter and the Executive Committee. Projects are transmitted to the council in the form of summaries the day before meetings. Procedural changes to the online submission of bids for projects are changed without any consultation. The recruitment of the personnel and the choice of the consulting firms were made without the knowledge of the Haitian members of the Board of Directors. No documents were received informing the council of the criteria for recruiting or the profiles for the candidates. This is also true for the firms which have received contracts, the Haitian members of the council are unaware of even the name of these firms that work for the HIRC or their roles. Taking into account this deficiency, Mr. Co-Presidents, the Haitian members of the HIRC invited the Executive Director to give a progress report on the status of collaboration between the two sides (Haitian and foreign). The invitation was ignored. In reality, the Haitian members of the Council appear to fulfill a puppet role, which is to

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rubberstamp the decisions adopted by the Executive Director and the Executive Committee. The comments of Professor Jean-Marie Bourjolly in his memorandum of October 4, 2010 summarize the situation well. And we quote: “We must devote the greatest part of our energies to build a plan with a strategy and tactics that conforms with the general principles stated in the Action Plan. Our role was restricted to approving projects, in so far as I can judge, on the basis of first come, first served. We risk finding ourselves with a panoply of disparate projects, certainly interesting and useful when considered in isolation, but which collectively do not respond to the urgency of the situation or provide the foundations for the sustainable rebuilding of Haiti, much less our long term development.” Mr. Co-Presidents, In terms of protocol, the treatment accorded to the Haitian section of the Executive Committee reveals an effort to minimize this branch of the council. As proof of this assertion, the unacceptable reception during the September 20, 2010 meeting in New York where several of the Haitian members of the Commission were omitted from the seating at the discussion table. As Haitian members of the Commission, we believe we have a special responsibility for the proper functioning of the Commission in its mission to work for the reconstruction of the country and to do so in the interest of Haiti and its People living both inside the country and overseas. Signatories: Joseph Bernadel Lucien Bernard Jean-Marie Bourjolly Jean Renald Clerisme Lucien Francoeur Claude Jeudy Gary Lissade Suze Percu Filippini Georges Henry, Jr.

Transitional Challenges (0 Oct 01)
In the aftermath of any disaster there are typically phases:  Rescue Lives … people in dire risk of death, need to be found, taken to safety Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges

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Relief Aid … provide the people with essentials for continued survival, until better arrangements practical Transitional Planning … lay groundwork to protect the people from additional disasters, such as hurricanes in Haiti, also related issues that might complicate permanent solutions Permanent resolution … quality housing, strong economy with plenty jobs, environment cleaned up, etc.

In Haiti, as of 8 9 months after the Jan 2010 quake, we are no longer in the rescue phase, Relief Aid continues, Transitional Planning has now been progressing since around June, with Permanent resolution still on the horizon, not started yet.

US IG evaluates USAID “Cash for Work” (0 Oct 01)
Immediately after the Jan 2010 quake, aid was launched to Haiti by: the UN; most all nations; thousands of for-profit companies; astronomical sums donated by people all over the world to tens of thousands of non-profit organizations for aid to Haiti. The US response was split between USAID, military, and special representatives of the President and US State Dept. USAID’s response included cash-for-work (CFW) short-term jobs, where ordinary Haitians could do much of the work cleaning up earthquake damage, and performing light infrastructure work, where good pay for them should trickle into rest of Haitian economy. USAID used private contractors (beltway bandits) and NGOs to actually implement the CFW, with a series of projects totaling $ 13.6 million thru the end of June 2010. Following the earthquake, extensive rubble and debris prevented Haitians from rebuilding Port-au-Prince, and other cities, and resuming normal lives. Much of the rubble remained in place; when people removed rubble, they relocated it to the center or the sides of roads, making some streets impassable. Meanwhile, many schools, hospitals, businesses, and homes remained blocked. The debris also created an environmental and health hazard. Rain leached toxic chemicals and carcinogens from the debris and sent them into the storm water system and ultimately into drinking water. Storm drains, blocked by debris, exacerbated flooding after normal weather. Rural areas also needed rehabilitation. In the USA, government agencies are subject to periodic audits by Inspectors Generals, Judge Advocate General (military), and the General Accountability Office. These inspections generally report to the top of agency, and to Congress and President, with what they find. Often there is also a report shared with the general public. The objectives of this audit32 were to determine whether USAID is managing these CFW programs effectively and whether the programs apply sufficient internal controls to minimize occurrences of fraud.

32

I am summarizing the audit results here. Check the link to see the full 25 page report. I also downloaded it with the name “Accountability Audit USAID IG 2010 Sep 24.”

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The audit found that USAID’s management of these CFW projects was resulting in tangible, though limited, contributions to Haiti’s recovery efforts. High costs for trucks and other heavy equipment, meant less money into the Haitian economy thru payroll, so volume of Haitians hired fell far short of expectations. USAID had allowed its implementing partners to adopt different safety policies and procedures for similar work, and that enforcement of these standards varied from site to site (page 9). By failing to develop and enforce consistent workplace safety rules and accident procedures, USAID increased the risk of serious and avoidable workplace accidents.33 Some implementing partners left worker selection almost exclusively to municipal officials. This approach increased the risk that political officials may use this program for political and financial gain. Although sites for rubble removal were to be selected on the basis of their benefit to entire communities, one implementer was clearing private lots without clear justification or approval, providing significant benefits to the owners of the lots.

Recommendations of IG Audit of USAID CFW (0 Oct 01)
To serve more program beneficiaries and increase the overall operational efficiency of USAID CFW activities, the audit recommends: 1. _ Expanding CFW efforts to projects other than rubble removal to provide more extensive and cost-effective employment opportunities for Haitians (page 9). USAID disagreed here, suggesting that the auditors had failed to understand Haiti realities and recovery objectives. 2. _ Partnering on CFW rubble removal efforts with organizations that can provide the required trucks and heavy equipment (page 9). USAID agreed in principle. 3. _ Standardizing policies and procedures regarding safety equipment and response to accidents (page 11).34 USAID agreed. 4. _ Maximizing community participation in beneficiary selection (page 12).35 USAID agreed. 5. _ Requiring the submission of detailed justification for the removal of rubble from private residential sites (page 13). USAID disagreed. IG arguing. 6. _ Completing validation reviews of any private home sites included in rubble removal efforts (page 13). USAID disagreed. IG arguing.

In other research (sorry I cannot cite references at this time) I have found a lack of enforcement of safety standards in cash-for-work. For example: not provide gloves to people handling debris which can include sharp objects, human remains; no compensation to workers injured on the job – tough, fired because too injured to continue. 34 The audit gives details on the standards of each of USAID’s CFW partners, then found that actual practices on-site did not measure up to their official standards, explained how come. 35 Standards exist for minimizing risk of corruption here, which USAID not yet using. Guide to Cash-for-Work Programming, Mercy Corps, 2007, <www.mercycorps.org/files/file1179375619.pdf>.
33

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7. _ Completing financial reviews of all implementing partners (page 13). USAID
agreed.

USAID agreed with four of the seven recommendations. The Inspector General has deadlines for implementation, and resolution on the three where there was disagreement.

Eviction Scandals (1 Feb 16)
As stated elsewhere, when there is a dispute between those who have a legitimate claim to own some land or housing, and the people who are living there, there is a civilized way to resolve this. First the owner meets with the tenant to try to resolve the problems. If they cannot settle amicably, they go to the judicial process. The judicial authority gets to see proof that the people are who they claim to be, hear their grievances, see evidence to substantiate the allegations. If the owner must fix some problem, there is a court system extremely experienced at getting this enforced, in a firm but gentle manner, where the focus is on getting the job done. If the tenant must be evicted, there are police persons who understand human rights and proper force. They can get the tenant and tenant possessions removed in a firm but gentle manner, which does not place the tenant at risk of life and limb. What has been happening in Haiti, is land ownership is by who has the strongest thug army. The court system is not involved. Occasionally the UN military or Haitian Police are called in, not to adjudicate, but to be conned by one side to attack the other side. People are trying to sleep in poor quality tents, when a thug army arrives to drive the people out like cattle. They do this at night, because the people are more likely to be taken by surprise when they are sleeping. This happens all over Haiti to tens of thousands of people, robbed of their homes by the earthquake, robbed of their meager remaining possessions each time this happens, hunt for some piece of land where they can setup a new camp. More often than not, the place they find is apparently available, because the people who were there were driven out in a prior mass eviction. The family, who think they own the land, but probably have no documentation of this which would stand up in a court of law, having driven one bunch of survivors off their property, see that the land is once again occupied by squatters, so another nite they send the thug army in to drive them off also. Many facts are in dispute.  How long it is reasonable to expect that there is an emergency due to the disaster, during which people should not be demanding that civil society return to normal, and to hell with disaster survivors who need help returning to normal. Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges

29

Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges      How common are mass evictions with great brutality? What is the aggregate number of mass evictions of Haitians? 36 How many Haitians are currently under threat of mass eviction?

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For the displaced by quake survivors, what are their moral and ethical responsibilities to fellow citizens, whose land the tent cities are on? For the land owners, what are their moral and ethical responsibilities to fellow citizens, displaced by the quake?

We have accumulated links to relevant evidence in many discussions on Haiti Rewired and elsewhere.37 Also see Al’s research notes specifically on “Haiti Housing Human

Rights” (H3R), all of which are being violated.

Al Mac started Haiti Rewired thread, in Architecture for Haiti Group: Forced Evictions of Quake Survivors from Camps with no advance notice, (also Rape Epidemic, Accountability, Perspective). This thread includes links to countless news and other stories on specific incidents, places, numbers of people involved. Ansel posted a Haiti Rewired blog about Landowner rising tensions over “Temporary Camps” which the Haitian Government and NGOs seem to be taking forever to resolve. He included links to related incidents. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is one of the most powerful organizations today in Haiti. One of the areas they manage is the challenge of people displaced, like refugees in their own nation. They have a web site "Camp Management Operations (CMO) in Haiti" to share data from small teams that have fanned out across Haiti trying to resolve problems in camps as they encounter them, however there are several gaps between stated objectives, PR spin on what they report, and transparency in sharing this data. Ansel explains the problems in his Haiti Rewired post on what IOM got all wrong regarding a camp eviction case. What happens, and what IOM is aware of, is like the mainstream news media not covering developing stories until they become a major crisis. There is a lack of internal communication within the UN clusters, such that many officials do not believe facts presented in official reports, from their own organizations. It could be they have never viewed those reports.

Some have had this happen to them multiple times, as they have the misfortune of finding sites that look like they can camp there, but are in fact under the thumb of alleged land owner with thug gangs soon to drive out the next bunch of people there. 37 Linked In made what they called an improvement to group discussions. In the process of doing so they deleted hundreds of thousands of discussions which had not had any postings in a week or so. In the Haiti discussion lists, those deletions included many threads which had been used to organize links to related topics.
36

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A group of NGOs,38 specializing in justice issues, filed a legal action in early November 2010 through the OAS39 with the IACHR,40 claiming grievous violations of the human rights of IDPs41 in the tent cities of Haiti.42 In the middle of November, the IACHR ruled that the GoH43 needed to take immediate action to fix these problems, and keep IACHR informed on their progress.

WATER Challenges (0 Nov 12)
This topic has come up in multiple venues, and may ultimately have a separate research notes paper by me. For now, my Guide to Haiti Aid Info has links to the people who are doing work in this area, and my Haiti Cholera Epidemic Info has links for people researching this issue.

Terminology Challenges (1 Jan 05)
We are familiar with many concepts, and words, which may be used with other meanings in other nations and cultures. According to Brookings Institute Sep 2010 analysis of burning issues for Haiti recovery and reconstruction,44 many Haitians’ homes were destroyed by the earthquake, but they have remained on or near their property. In other words, they are homeless but not displaced. The word ‘homeless’ sometimes implies that people owned a home which was subsequently lost, either thru bank foreclosure or natural disaster destruction. That is not an accurate assumption in Haiti where many people rented homes from others or held the land through customary land tenure, or simply squatted on the margins of urban slums. Many people escaped areas of the country devastated by the earthquake to go live with friends or relatives in some other place. Those people are displaced but not homeless, because they are living in someone else home, frequently with extreme malnutrition, since Haiti was 80% unemployed before the earthquake, which made their economy much worse. Most displaced are also homeless. Many Haitians have been displaced by economic dislocations prior to the latest disaster, of which Haiti has had a series in recent years, 45 and many were homeless prior to the Jan 2010 earthquake. Much recent humanitarian aid has abandoned victims of prior disasters, just tried to help victims of most recent disaster, although both sets of victims are in similar dire circumstances.
Non-Government Organizations. Organization of American States. 40 Inter American Commission on Human Rights 41 Internally (within a nation) Displaced Persons = refugees in their own nation. 42 Al Mac has copies of the relevant documents in his “Accountability” collection. 43 Government of Haiti. 44 Brookings Report reviewed by Al Mac on Haiti Rewired Blog and Yahoo Group Haiti Disaster Recovery Research [HDRR]. 45 My document, on what is known about 2010 Presidential election candidates, includes a section on the history of recent disasters in Haitian history – natural and man-made.
38 39

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People with no legal status: commonly referred to as squatters, for example, ACTED identified “beach-dwellers” with no legal status but with long term occupancy in the zone. In reality, the majority of people may have no official legal status, with respect to where they are living, BUT we can consider squatters as those with the least evidence to show tenure security. These people existed before and after the Haiti earthquake. In the Architecture Group of Haiti Rewired,46 several people think “squatters” is a particularly hostile label for people who are refugees in their own country, and have suggested that “nomad” is a better term for people who are driven from shelter to shelter like cattle. I think we need different terminology for people who are voluntarily behaving a particular way, and people who are in that boat due to some disaster, or abuse by an undemocratic government.

Haiti Terminology Concepts (1 Feb 17)
Many professions use Acronyms and specialized terminology which is alien to people from outside those professions. This phenomenon dominates many UN NGO and government reports to the point of rendering them unreadable to most of the general public. I have a separate document translating such terminology which I have encountered so far in hundreds of UN and NGO and GoH documents, but here include those I consider most relevant to the topic of this particular research focus. Most of us learned a lot in school which was rather superficial theories of economics, sociology, science, geopolitics, etc. understood at the time, then as academia grows more distant into our past, our understanding of the world becomes limited by our profession, and time to delve into other sciences. Thus, there’s a lot going on which we do not understand. Hopefully some of the terminology in this glossary will be a window into areas where we ought to further explore explanations for the strange or even alien realities of how come relief and recovery in Haiti does not measure up to standards that seem self-evident.

1 year anniversary of the 2010 Jan earthquake = We saw an infinity of

organizations posting progress reports on their contributions to Haiti relief and recovery. I posted links and mini-reviews of some of this info to the Yahoo Group HDRR (Haiti Disaster Recovery Research). Some notable to housing challenges included:  US Government USAID report.47

46

47

80k 2 pages http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/JARD-8D33LV/$File/full_report.pdf (Source: OCHA/Relief Web)

http://haitirewired.wired.com/group/architectureforhaiti

For more information on USAID/OFDA shelter and settlements sector activities, please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/sectors/shelter.html

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Access to Services Infrastructure48 = World Vision notes that: ‘Efforts to provide basic
services like sanitation and drainage are frequently held up by disputes over land. Planning for longer-term transitional shelter cannot take place in the absence of land on which the displaced can be accommodated’.

Accessibility for disabled includes
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. blind, on crutches, wheel chair, elderly, pregnant … none discriminated against build shelter higher than anticipated flood waters build slope for wheel chair etc. which can in fact be navigated

consider visual, hearing, speech, mental and intellectual impairments emergency exits, but infants cannot wander off computer access practical for people with disabilities such as inability to use hands, or see screen, or have severe color blindness

ACTED = Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (HQ = Paris France) 49
AL MAC = Alister Wm Macintyre

BIM = Building Information Modeling

Building Standards need to be satisfactory to protect occupants against whatever risks

might happen anywhere, and also what is of particular high risk in Haiti, or wherever the structures are being installed. This includes: Accessibility (see examples of disabled people elsewhere in my glossary); Break-ins (such as by rapists and muggers); Earthquake; Eviction by Thug Gangs; Fire (smoke alarm, more than one exit route, so not get cut-off); Flood (upper floor or attic windows can support emergency exit); Insects (such as Termites vs. Wood construction); Wind (tropical storms). Electrical wiring should have 3 hole wall plugs. Grey water support if practical. See http://www.unesco-ipred.org/gtfbc/ for building standards around our world. Some types of buildings, such as schools, have additional “child safe” requirements.

C+ (1 Jan 11)

Cadastral or Cadastre means Land surveying in the Digital Age. Think combination

good geographic map, and clear demarcations of plots of land identified, that link to ownership records.50 It commonly includes details of land ownership, land tenure, GPS or other coordinates, dimensions, landmarks. Perhaps include legal use of the land, such as zoning. Also see Land Register. CARE = Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere CARICOM = Caribbean Community
48 49

Coordination and the tenure puzzle in Haiti by Kate Crawford, Emily Noden and Lizzie Babister,

CARE International UK in

Humanitarian Exchange October 2010. http://www.acted.org 50 Wikipedia; Free Dictionary. How Cadastre system works in France. OAS conference report, indicator international actors interested in resolving Haiti challenges.

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges CCPR = International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

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http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm
CIA = US Central Intelligence Agency COHR = Center on Housing Rights and Evictions

“Complicated” sounds to an American audience like someone being slippery or evasive
or talking down to the simple, genuine, honest people who just want a straight answer, 51 even when it really is complicated. The real world is complicated. It always has been. Politics are complicated, as are issues of race; ethnicity; culture; religion; and humanitarian aid work.

Construction Challenges exist for rebuilding Haiti. There is lack of consensus with
many issues. Haiti is allegedly virtually devoid of local building materials of appropriate quality for environmental conditions builders must take into account: steep terrain, torrential rains, heat, and even salt air.52 Deforestation complicates the environmental conditions.

“Counterfeiting Skills” = the abilities some people have in creating documentation proving they have ownership rights to some land. CRC = UNICEF Convention on Rights of the Child http://www.unicef.org/crc/

D+ (0 Nov 15)

Debris – what can be in a Disaster Debris Pile?
Dead bodies, and body parts (some contaminated by disease) E-wastes such as computers, telephones and TVs “White goods” such as refrigerators, washing machines, dryers Hazardous materials such as bleach Radioactive materials from hospitals, industries and laboratories Explosive gases from households, hospitals, industries Petroleum products from gas stations, power plants PCBs from transformers Ammunition from houses, army camps and police stations Disaster Rescue workers waste products, without garbage pickup

DGI = Direction Générale des Impôts, manages state-owned properties and is responsible for property tax collection, but does such an incomplete job that many Haitian municipalities have taken over DGI’s work.
51 52

“Simple” in American Culture. There is heavy research being conducted in this area, with results reported on Haiti Rewired.

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Displaced persons53 = persons who, for different reasons or circumstances, have

been compelled to leave their homes. They may or may not reside in their country of origin, but are not necessarily regarded legally as refugees. Assessments by CARE have shown that owner-occupiers and land tenants were more likely to have access to their original plots and housing materials. Building tenants tended to be in less resilient self-built shelters because they were less likely to salvage building materials and more likely to be displaced from the site of their original home. DPC = Haiti Department of Civil Protection (Police) Civil Protection Directorate

Due Process of Law = administration of justice according to established rules and
consistent principles, often with constitutional guarantees.

E+ (0 Nov 15)

Economy: Before the Jan 2010 earthquake, Haitians had 80% unemployment. Afterwards

it was much worse. Growing the economy is a major priority, since it will make it practical for Haitians to move into alternative housing as it gets developed. Haitian authorities announced their version of a stimulus package to boost the Haitian economy.

Election Sham … I have said the Election system in Haiti reminds me of the old

Soviet Union … what I mean by that is that everyone knew in that system, you either voted for the dictator, or you were dead. In Haiti, you are not allowed to vote for anyone but a member of the Soviet Party equivalent. The system is rigged to block participation by parties and leaders whom 90% of the people want as their leaders. Haiti is not a real democracy, with constitutional government, rule of law. 54

Emergency Shelter = Tents and Tarps protection from ordinary Haiti weather.
Protection from NOTHING ELSE.

Eminent Domain = The right of a government to seize private property for public use,
in exchange for payment of fair market price, to the legal owner of the land.

Equitable human settlements55 are those in which all people, without

discrimination of any kind as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status, have equal

53 54

Coordination and the tenure puzzle in Haiti by Kate Crawford, Emily Noden and Lizzie Babister,

CARE International UK in

Humanitarian Exchange October 2010. More info: see my other research document on Haiti 2010 election; Upside Down World on Silent Coup in Haiti. 55 UN Habitat Agenda.

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access to housing, infrastructure, health services, adequate food and water, education and open spaces. In addition, such human settlements provide:  equal opportunity for a productive and freely chosen livelihood;  equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance, the ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technologies;  equal opportunity for personal, spiritual, religious, cultural and social development;  equal opportunity for participation in public decision-making;  equal rights and obligations with regard to the conservation and use of natural and cultural resources;  and equal access to mechanisms to ensure that rights are not violated. The empowerment of women and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, whether rural or urban, are fundamental to sustainable human settlements development.

Eviction+ (0 Oct 20) Eviction is when the (alleged) owner or manager of real estate property
arranges for the removal of the current resident occupier of the property. In the developed or civilized world, an eviction process involves ample advance notification by the owner or manager to the tenant, and possibly voluntary departure. Otherwise, there is a process administered by the court system to evaluate whether the tenant or manager needs to be forced to do something.56 Eviction can be because the lease bans pets in the building, then there is a blind visitor with a guide dog, and the tenant feels that is an exception to the lease mandate. Frequently there has been a dispute about a landlord repairing a serious situation, where the tenant withholds rent pending resolution, then the landlord tries to evict because of the unpaid rent. The court can then review the grievances of both sides, to determine who is in the wrong and how to resolve the dispute. In the developing world, such as Haiti, the court system usually plays no role whatsoever in evictions. The (alleged) property owner, or agents (typically thug gangs) of the (alleged) owner, use whatever (often brutal) means they deem necessary to remove unwanted residents of their property. All over Haiti, there are thug-gangs driving tent city occupants off the land claimed by owners, whose documentation of ownership is usually a farce, where
56

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eviction

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the evacuees lose their meager possessions when they are driven off brutally, and need to find some place else to pitch their survival location. More often than not, it is a space now vacant because some other victims were brutally driven off. So the cycle continues.

Extremely Vulnerable Groups comprise:
a. b. c. d. Female- and Child-headed households57 Households of six or more, with four children of school age Physically and mentally disabled Elderly

Fermage is a type of land lease combined with full title for a house, sometimes with an

option to buy land in future. It is not strictly formal, but not considered illegal in most cases. According to some estimates around 80% of residents in Port-au-Prince have a fermage contract with the option to buy. 58

Forced Evictions+ (0 Oct 20) Forced Evictions (see Evictions) are when people are removed from where
they have been living or working, without due process of law. 59 This is common in some nations, like Haiti, where there is no such thing as “due process of law” for housing or tenure rights.60 Al Mac research notes document “Haiti Housing Human Rights (H3R)” explores what exactly are rights “on the books” and are they only suggestions? FY = Fiscal Year

G+ (0 Oct 01)
GCST = The Global Campaign for Secure Tenure, organized thru UN-Habitat advocates housing rights for everyone GCST promotes negotiation as an alternative to violent forced eviction, innovative tenure systems for the urban poor, women’s equal secure tenure, tools to facilitate collaboration between the urban poor, support NGOs and government at all levels, slum upgrading frameworks, and legal and regulatory reforms.
Yes, there are “households” in Haiti with no adults. To locate them, start with the UN “red zones” which are areas of Haiti which have been designated as “forbidden to help those people” then go looking inside them for street kids who have no homes, and only get help from each other. I have found only conspiracy theories to explain the phenomena of the “red zones.”
57

58
59

UN-HABITAT, Strategic Citywide Spatial Planning: A Situational Analysis of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2009.

60

Center on Housing Rights and Evictions.

Ronald Baudin, Haiti's Minister of Economy and Finance, talks about this in a Haiti Libre article needing a better translation.

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GCUG = The Global Campaign on Urban Governance, organized thru UN-Habitat GCUG promotes participatory urban governance (strategies, forums, tools), women's political representation and participation in decision-making, gender budgeting, public auditing, and other mechanisms ensuring greater accountability and transparency. GIS = Geographical Information System GoH = Government of Haiti GPS = Global Positioning System

H+ (0 Nov 14)
HDRR = Haiti Disaster Recovery Research group on Yahoo HEDR = Haiti Earthquake Disaster Relief group on Linked In

Homeless people implies: previously they owned or rented a home which was
subsequently lost, or they were forced to leave against their will. For example, the building was foreclosed by a financial institution, or the home was destroyed in an earthquake. In Haiti there were multi-story buildings which collapsed. The people on the ground floor get to keep the right to be there, even though the building is now gone, while people on higher floors, which got destroyed, had their corresponding rights also destroyed. 61

Housing Rights: Under International Law, there is a right to have a safe and secure
Housing Rights Links:
 

home, where people can live with dignity, to not be subject to arbitrary or forced eviction. This s one of the most widely violated human rights. 62 Homeless International is a charity based in Britain which works with local partner organizations all over the world, including Latin America. Shack Dwellers International addresses the needs of Slum dwellers all over the developing world.

HR = Haiti Rewired IAT = International Action Ties, a grassroots community development organization addressing root causes of poverty by working towards structural change and community mobilization. www.internationalactionties.org IDP = Internally Displaced Persons (refugees in their home nation). IOM = International Organization for Migration (UN agency in charge of refugees and displaced persons)
Canadian Radio program on the “Homeless in Haiti” challenges: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2010/12/07/special-homeless-in-haiti/ 62 Center on Housing Rights and Evictions.
61

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Land+ (0 Oct 20)

Land Ownership – Here is a 1990 study of Haiti Land ownership in Port au Prince, and
also the structures built on the land.63

Land Reform is often fueled by the notion that historical land owners got control of a

nation’s wealth by strong armed tactics, where all people of a democratic region ought to have equal access to deciding how the land is to be used. Land makes up three quarters 64 of the wealth of most developing nations and plays crucial social, customary, and religious roles. Land Reform often consists of:  National clear definition of what property rights are, and what the rights are of people using real property, such as the need to justify to a judge or magistrate why anyone should be evicted from where they are residing, or performing economic activities. Provide a system for transferring ownership at reasonable costs. Developing a registry of the nation’s geography, spelling out who owns which land, and who has what rights to use the land in what manner (residence, farming, mining, etc.). Instituting a system of government, where there is registration of which people have what rights to what land, such as inheritance by spouses and children. Instituting a system of justice, where people at the bottom of the economic ladder can have rights guaranteed, and have a means of disputing arbitrary actions by more powerful interests.

 

Land Register is similar to the Cadastre.65 Where the Cadastre focuses on the technical
geographical description of the real estate, the Register focuses on history of ownership and tenure access.

Land Tenure Security refers to the right of individuals and groups of people to

effective protection by their government against forcible evictions. 66 In urban settings, land tenure is often insecure for slum dwellers and for the poor. In rural settings, land tenure is also often insecure for the poor, as well as for women, who face problems such as unlawful evictions by family members after the death of a husband or father. 67 MDG = Millennium Development Goal.68

63http://www.facebook.com/notes/haiti-next-door/who-owns-port-au-prince-summary-of-the-economcis-

and-politics-of-housing-from-si/164902446862906 64 The Invisible Line: Land Reform, Land Tenure Security and Land Registration. 65 http://www.just.ee/7881 66 United Nations Human Settlement Program, Enhancing Urban Safety and Security: Global Report on Human Settlements 2007, abridged ed., 9, http://www.unhabitat.org/downloads/docs/GRHS.2007.Abridged.Vol.2.pdf.
67
68

For more information on MDG: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals

Land Tenure Security and Agricultural Productivity Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges

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MINUSTAH = Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation d’Haïti (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) (UN Peacekeepers)
MoUs = Memoranda of Understanding

N+ (0 Dec 26)
NGO = Non-Governmental Organization “No one in charge” – When an important function of government, disaster relief, recovery, etc. has no plan, no agency responsible for it, no leader, then the top leaders of government, disaster relief, recovery, etc. get flooded with contacts by people who want to help, and the top leaders can be clueless how to cope. As of eight months after the Jan 2010 earthquake, no one is in charge of Haiti housing, land ownership, rubble removal, border control. Several competing interests are allegedly in charge of Haiti health, education, security. Who should be in charge? Minister of Interior? Special Deputy office until the disaster problems have all been resolved?

Nomad = a term for people with no permanent home, who by choice, or by others
OAS = Organization of American States

forcing them, are compelled to move from temporary home to temporary home. This term is considered to be less hostile than calling them “squatters.”
OCHA United Nations Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (UN agency that is over ALL the humanitarian activity in Haiti)

OECD = Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OHFCOH = Operation Hope for Children of Haiti ONACA = Office National du Cadastre (National Cadastre69 office) in the Ministry of Public Works. OTI = Office of Transition Initiatives (of USAID) PH = Plan Haiti

PUICA = The Civil Registry Program, is a project currently being implemented by the

OAS in Haiti to improve a digital civil registry system to normalize the situation aggravated by the catastrophe that affected the country earlier in 2010, which led to the collapse of public offices and the lost of citizens' identity cards. The program's immediate goal is to establish a system to update the electoral census for the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in November. For more info see OAS news on Relief Web

R+ (0 Dec 29)

Real Estate = Real Property owned on land, such as the land itself, and improvements on
it like buildings and agriculture.70
69

See Cadastre definition.

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I have seen many variants on what the Reconstruction Commission will be called, or is named. Here is an official list of the members. It currently has 24 members entitled to vote
(12 Haitian leaders and 12 representatives of nations promising funds) and four members from other sectors without voting.

Recovery comes after Rescue and Relief. The damaged infrastructure needs to
be rebuilt back better than it was before, so the people are less likely to suffer so much in the next natural disaster.

Redistribution of Wealth: Stephen Nuchia eloquently writes:71 QUOTE
If there was ever a situation that called for a "redistribution of wealth" this was it. They would have been better off if they had taken the opportunity the quake presented and reset the whole land title system to zero. Find a way to "make whole" the key players among the landed gentry, and give everyone forty acres. Too late now of course. 72 Yes, it will take decades to clean all the titles. But legislation enabling an arbitration process, and an economy which justifies the effort, would get the ball rolling better than trying to do it all through a central bureaucracy.73 UNQUOTE

Rehabilitation
meanings.

– Different people use same terminology with somewhat different

 

The full, or at least partial, restoration of degraded landscapes and/or impaired ecosystem services to their state prior, for example, to the land being occupied as a site for transitional shelter for displaced people. Upgrading existing buildings to accommodate evolving needs, such as support for disabled people, support for new kinds of telecommunications, improve fire safety.

Relief typically comes after Rescue but before Recovery.

Until damaged infrastructure and economy can be rebuilt, the people need delivery of essential supplies (medical, food, water, shelter) in such a way that it does not sabotage recovery (such as killing the local agriculture by competing with capitalism to its destruction).

Relocation Camps,

for Haiti disaster victims, were designated “safer” areas than where they were found at risk of flooding, mudslides, etc. where the “more risky” areas could not be mitigated, or repaired. So the people at more risk were given some choices: Return to wherever they were before, if their homes now designated as safe, and they were economically able to move there (pay the rent with their livelihoods gone);

Here’s a site which tries to provide further education. In Facebook discussion of credit stimulus article. 72 Is it in fact too late? 73 Haiti already has an abundance of central bureaucracies competing with each other to complicate this topic.
70 71

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges  

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Move in with some other host family, such as in rural areas, which were not getting sufficient aid to displaced victims; Or move to the “safer” relocation camps.

Repair + (1 Jan 16)

Repair
Currently the stages, after disaster, are    Rescue (removing people from under collapsed buildings, path of flood, etc.); Relief (providing minimum care until reconstruction}; Reconstruction (build back better, which may never get fully implemented).

There needs to be an extra step inserted after Relief, before Reconstruction. I call it Repair (critical infrastructure, such as sanitation and communication, places for medical helicopters to land). Repair means raising standards so society can function better while working towards Reconstruction. Some people might call this stage “Transitional” meaning what is practical while waiting on Permanent solutions, but I feel that in Haiti far too many people are waiting, and not enough are actually working towards permanent solutions. In Haiti, there are roads which flood in rainy season. Their elevation could be raised by rubble from the quake, unusable for other purposes. With the cholera epidemic, many people die because they cannot get to a medical facility in time, because facilities are few and far between. Medical clinics need critical supplies, which cannot be delivered by air, must be driven multiple hours over-land. There are roads which need 4x4, normal vehicles cannot travel there. The drainage canals have no guard rails, so every time a town floods, many people get swept into the canals.

Rescue typically comes before Relief.
S+ (0 Dec 26)

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, there are people at extreme risk of dying, because they are buried by an earthquake, mudslide, etc. or need to be rapidly moved out of the way of a flood.

Secure Tenure = Freedom from fear of forced eviction.74 Millions of people live
in constant fear of being forcibly evicted, without any warning, or due process, without any compensation, alternative housing, or ability to salvage their
74

COHR on violations of human housing rights.

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possessions. Although international law courts have repeatedly declared forced evictions to be a gross and systematic violation of human rights,75 there are multiple stories out of Haiti, where the UN military has been used to assist in this behavior.76

SHELTER
  When we see the word “Shelter” in UN NGO Gov documents about Haiti, it usually means “Emergency Shelter” from rains, such as tents tarps etc. ideally on land not at high risk of flooding or mudslides or landslides. When we see OTHER folks using the word “Shelter”, they usually mean “Housing” that meets Building Standards that includes protection from Hurricanes, Earthquakes, nite rapes, surprise evictions, and other hazards that are normal reasonable expectations for the people of Haiti.

SHELTER SAFER STRATEGY OF GOVERNMENT OF HAITI
This strategy proposes five basic options for the affected population: 1. 2. 3. 4. Return to a safe home, after evaluation by trained engineers Return to a safe plot, after debris has been removed from the site Stay with a host family Stay in a current spontaneous settlement, if conditions at the site can be made to meet minimum standards in the medium term 5. For those who do not have another option, move to a temporary relocation site planned by GoH, implemented by UN and NGOs.

Sources Referenced, in various documents, can include sources I have not yet located,

but hope to view in the future.77 Apparently some NGOs have independently researched issues, then shared them with UN clusters. Their documents may or may not be on sites of NGOs or UN clusters.

Split Ownership is an idea I got from Mike Perrett.78

It may be when trying to settle ownership disputes in Haiti that two or more competing interests appear to present equally valid claims. Surely a percentage ownership new agreement can be made, and recorded with Governments additions attached, such as a time frame during which quake survivors have guaranteed housing tenancy security at a rental price to be paid or subsidized in such a way that the owners get predictable income, and the subsidizers have well defined payment schedule. If and when the tenants get decent jobs, they can take over some of the payments, and get a longer time period guaranteed tenancy security agreement.

Squatter (see Nomad) = a hostile label for people who have no permanent home.
http://ijdh.org/archives/15413 Haiti Rewired thread on Forced Evictions of Quake Survivors from Tent City Camps with no advance notice. 77 CARE; CordAid; informal working group on Land and Space issues; GOAL documents on local government structure. 78 Mike is one of my contacts on Facebook.
75 76

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges SUF = Slum Upgrading Facility of UN-Habitat.79 JUNE 2006 Issue: Pdf. SWS = Severe Weather Shelter

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T+ (0 Oct 01) T-Shelter = Transitional Shelter (theoretically quake and cyclone proof shelter in

Haiti for people displaced by last such disaster) until Permanent replacements for the disaster can be resolved. (However, the general public is not being provided with evidence of quality, we are supposed to take their word for it that they know what they are doing.)

Tenure80
   Permission to use or access something, such as land for particular purposes, like mining or farming. An element of property rights, or contracts. Employee status, like teacher rights. Period of time this status to continue.

Tenure Security

does not necessarily mean formally registered, legally recognised, inheritable land ownership forever. It means a transitional agreement or arrangement to make sure that people can restart their livelihoods and be confident that they will not face forced or sudden involuntary eviction and loss of livelihood as they recover from the earthquake and plan their next steps. “Thug Power” = an excess of physical force available to some alleged land owners, to enforce their claim to what purposes their land may be used for.

U+ (0 Nov 14)
UN = United Nations UN Clusters – see Al Mac other document Guide to navigating UN sites. UNDP = United Nations Development Programme

Unoccupied lands = a reality which occurs when the economic system encourages real

estate owners for owning property, but not use it for anything, and imposes high costs if do use it, such that they are likely to not use it unless they have an extreme economic value to do so. We see this in Haiti, where wealthy families want to own land, do not want to use it themselves, and do not want quake survivors to use it for tent cities.

79 80

Thanks to Facebook’s Mike Perrett for bringing this to my attention.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tenure

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We see this in the USA, where banks foreclose homes whose owners could not pay the mortgage, the tenants able to keep paying the rent, but the banks evict them, because the banks would rather have the homes sit empty, inviting squatters and crimes like drug users, than have some family occupy it, pay rent, and keep the property in good condition. Consider tax rate systems, where unused or poorly used real estate has next to no taxes, but productively used space has high taxes. The owner must make enough profits so the tax is not a problem. Marginal profits + High Taxes and Insurance and other overhead costs can drive the low income effort out of business. A partial explanation for this reality is found in Georgist or Georgism Economics, based on the teachings of Henry George who was a contemporary of Karl Marx (economic theory of communist nations) and John Maynard Keynes (whose economic policies now rule the West). These three individuals viewed the same reality, but came up with totally different theories on what was in the best interests of mankind, the environment, quality of life, a huge spectrum of issues. In my opinion, Haiti would be a heck of a lot better off today if they were operating on Georgist Economics than Keynesian, but with the power structure it is today in the international community, I cannot see this happening. We can compare the economic theories to explain how come we have some messes, and activities that appear unwise.

Unowned Land – Is there such a thing as real estate (land on planet Earth, not at

bottom of Ocean) that is not under the jurisdiction of some nation, and for which there is no owner? When an owner dies, with no heirs, doesn’t the state reclaim their property? This is an issue in Haiti, because there are people who claim that some land has no owner, so they will grab it and use for their purposes. Often there are other people who dispute this interpretation, leading to a Civil War between the competing interests.81 USAID = United States Agency for International Development

Vulnerability:82 According to UN-Habitat , before the earthquake householders
perceived the risk of eviction to be low and even the poorest slowly invested in Heavy weight but very poor quality structures that were highly vulnerable to collapse. In addition, overcrowding can lead to the occupation of high-risk zones by the most vulnerable.

WTC = World Trade Center, demolished in 9/11. The amount of rubble debris there seemed astronomical, but was puny volume compared to what came with Haiti earthquake. This comparison makes sense for discussing philosophies of what is the best way to handle the removal of the rubble debris.

81 82

Ganthier scandal.

Coordination and the tenure puzzle in Haiti by Kate Crawford, Emily Noden and Lizzie Babister,

CARE International UK in

Humanitarian Exchange October 2010.

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Zone Maps are being issued by the Shelter Cluster through Relief Web. These are for

individual cities or communities showing which organizations are building shelters where. No numbers are given. Just the actual builder organizations, and the funding or coordinating agencies.

Al Mac Housing Research Notes (1 Feb 17)
Here’s a directory of Al Mac Research Notes Documents relevant to Haiti Housing challenges. (All are in Word, except where specified otherwise, such as Excel.)

        

“Glossary Acronyms Haiti” = translation of Acronyms commonly found in many UN and NGO documents.83 This overall document will eventually duplicate all the terminology here, in addition to terminology covering a much vaster spectrum of topics. “Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges” = that’s this document you reading here. It consolidates common facts, and theories, common to the collection of Haiti Housing Challenge research notes documents which focus on the various different problems, pros & cons of alternative ideas how to solve them. Guide to Navigating UN and NGO sources of Info on Haiti, including those relevant to Housing challenges, and many other areas. “H3R = Haiti Housing Human Rights” research notes document on what the UN and Haiti law have to say. Haiti Documents Directory: summarization of UN and NGO documents Al has downloaded while researching Haiti in 2010, including many challenges in addition to Housing. Haiti Maps directory Haiti T-Shelter research document = which NGOs doing what where.84 Relocation Geography = what’s happening with Haitians relocated from “more risky” camps to “more safe” camps.
Sitrep (Situation Report) … Al found time to do this back in May 2010, containing statistics collected so far, showing Haiti big picture. Transitional NGOs Excel developed as an intermediate aid for T-shelter research Weather Science Haiti

Suggested Reference Documents (1 Feb 17)

In my presentation, I shall assume the reader has access to the equivalent of other key documents I have discovered, obtained, or developed, 85 while researching Haiti Disaster Aid issues:

This is one of Al Mac specialized research documents, which typically will be uploaded to same kind of place as this one on Haiti land ownership challenges. 84 This research document is excessively large due to embedded other documents, so we are more constrained where it is practical to upload it, until the housing documents restructuring split is completed.
83

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges 

2/18/2011 Page 47

    

1 Year … a collection of reports from a large number of organizations involved in Haiti, published close to the one year anniversary of the Jan 2010 earthquake. Many of them available through Relief Web. I reviewed scores of them, shared my reviews with Yahoo group: Haiti Disaster Recovery Research (HDRR). 86
Accessibility for disabled in home design PDF Accessibility guidelines for use in disaster relief PDF

      

      

Acronyms – see Glossary. Al documents library – see Reference Directory of Documents Articles which try to explain the Haiti land tenure problem, and how the Jan 12 quake made it worse. o http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/ADGO873PR9?OpenDocument (Source: OCHA/Relief Web) Building Codes international directory of what is needed to protect against earthquakes, hurricanes, and other threats. Cholera Epidemic – Al’s research notes. Concepts – see Glossary Delaleu Plan for solving Haiti challenges, including land tenure ownership documentation.87 Diaspora – Al’s notes links (not much there yet) to their organizations. Documents Reference Directory: summarization of UN and NGO documents Al has downloaded while researching Haiti in 2010 “Glossary Acronyms Haiti” WORD … translation of Acronyms commonly found in many UN and NGO documents.88 This overall document will eventually duplicate all the terminology here, in addition to terminology covering a much vaster spectrum of topics. Environmental issues in Haiti reconstruction – I plan to be posting info on this topic to Haiti Rewired group on Agriculture and Conservation topics. Haiti Aid Guide to Navigating UN and NGO sources of Info. Haiti T-Shelter research document = which NGOs doing what where.89 Hurricane Shelter WORD documents from a discussion at the end of March 2010. Land Tenure Security and Agricultural Productivity
Land Tenure Residential Security UN Habitat Word 34 pages.
90

Map Leogane Flood Risk T-Shelters – overlay flood zones with rebuilding zones, shows that rebuilding coincides with high risk more floods.

It is my intention to include links to these documents in: Yahoo HDRR Group; Haiti Rewired threads; Plan Haiti; and/or my document with UN report navigating tips. They all were in Linked In HEDR group, until a Linked In “improvement” deleted hundreds of thousands of Haiti how-to references, and other topics. 86http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HaitiDisasterRecoveryResearch/
85

Uploaded to Yahoo Group (HDRR) Haiti Disaster Recovery Research in Files / Haiti Election Info / Candidate Platforms. 88 This is one of Al Mac specialized research documents, which typically will be uploaded to same kind of place as this one on Haiti land ownership challenges. 89 This research document is excessively large due to embedded other documents, so we are more constrained where it is practical to upload it. 90 Thanks to Facebook contact Mike Perrett for bringing this document to my attention.
87

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges            

2/18/2011 Page 48

Map Shelter – Maps where various kinds of shelters are in the works in Haiti.
Map Transitional Shelter PDF 2010 Apr 26: 40 NGOs which plan to implement Transitional Shelter in Haiti, and are primary starting info for T-shelter research. PDNA PDF 115 pages Gov of Haiti Plan for the rebuilding of Haiti.

Photos of transitional shelters which have been built in Haiti. Red X RFA: documents provided by Red Cross in their $ 30 million project to fund transitional housing in Haiti, where they were seeking expertise to help them. Reference Directory of UN and NGO documents Al has downloaded while researching Haiti in 2010.91 Relocation Geography – one of Al Mac research notes documents, by different housing themes. Rubble Clearing info from Haiti Recovery Group.
Shelter Transitional standards WORD check list Shelter Transitional additional documents https://sites.google.com/site/shelterhaiti2010/twig-1/tshelter Shelter Weather “maps” where buildings evaluated to identify capacity for Haitians in case of severe weather, not yet structured to make it possible for them to find these shelters. Sitrep (Situation Report) … Al found time to do this back in May 2010, containing statistics collected so far, showing Haiti big picture. Situation Report 2010 April 27 IOM (International Organization for Migration) PDF which says there are 13 sites designated for Transitional Shelters, talks about some of them, and is a bit vague on the issues. Situation Report 2010 July 15 Habitat for Humanity 2.2 Meg 5 page PDF shared the remarkable statistic that “According to U.N. estimates, less than 5 percent of Haiti’s land is
legally registered” (see section on Pathways to Permanence).


   

Tracking in Haiti April 17 V3 OCHA PDF (SSIDs and P Codes) Transitional NGOs XL developed as an intermediate aid for T-shelter research. UN Report Navigation Tips document by Al Mac. US Inspector General (IG) 25 page report on USAID and partners “Cash for Work” in Haiti http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/MUMA-89R45F/$File/full_report.pdf

(Source: OCHA/Relief Web)

Be sure to tell Al Mac if you are looking for any of these, and where you prefer me to upload them, if you need to see any, that you have been unable to locate.

World Bank (1 Feb 17)
Once upon a time there was an interest group on Facebook, hosted by a person with The World Bank. It was called Group on Housing and Reconstruction Handbook. When it closed, its members were invited to subscribe to related news by e-mail from The World Bank. “The Facebook group on the Housing and Reconstruction Handbook will be closed shortly. If you are interested in keeping up with the World Bank's work on this area in the East Asia & Pacific region, please sign up for email alerts at”
Labeled “Al’s docs” for convenience, they are really docs developed by hundreds of organizations working on rescue, relief, and recovery for Haiti.
91

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http://bit.ly/aXQZru To support the Government of Haiti's decision-making on the recovery and reconstruction operations, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) decided to make available expert advice and global best practices to the Government by mobilizing the World Bank Global Expert Team (GET) (and also procuring external expertise where inhouse expertise was not available) to prepare Knowledge/Good Practice Notes on ten identified, 'burning' post-disaster recovery and reconstruction issues in a time-bound manner.92 These knowledge notes covered a number of key sectors including:           Building Seismic Safety Assessment; Debris Management; Environmental and Social Assessment; Experience with Post Disaster Income Support Programs; Land Tenure; Management of Recovery Managing Post-Disaster Aid; Rebuild or Relocate; Transitional Shelter, Helping Women and Children to Recover and Build Resilient Communities.

Mixed Terminology (1 Feb 17)
Here are some topics I am struggling to grasp, which cross thresh-hold of Haiti Reconstruction challenges, and chaotic world economy. They play a role both in Haiti and beyond.

92

Relief Web May 2010 overview not published until September 2010 (Source: OCHA/Relief Web); Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR); Government of Haiti (Govt. Haiti); The World Bank Group.

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Human Frailties (1 Jan 17)
Before the Jan 2010 Haiti earthquake grabbed my attention, I had been studying causes of the Great Recession. I believe there are some lessons there, which apply to the disaster which is disaster relief. In summary, major causes of the Great Recession, in my opinion, include:  The generations which had lived through the Great Depression, and remembered types of activities which fuel human greed, which can provide short term improvements in individual economic conditions, but can be disasters long term, those human generations had died out, no longer influencing decisions of their descendents. People, in ignorance of the consequences, were making decisions, fueled by greed, to improve their current conditions, in ignorance of long term risks and consequences. We can expect 80 some years from now, the world will suffer another Economic disaster comparable to the Great Depression and Great Recession, depending on how well medical science improves our life spans. In other words, if medical science does a great job, it might be 120 years before the generations which are now living through the Great Recession die out, and human history repeats once again. If a company or government agency is going to invest heavily, or participate heavily in some area of human activity, there ought to be people at the top of the organization who have a good understanding of that area, its risks benefits tradeoffs. In recent years, financial institutions have been heavily participating in areas where there was no-one on board of directors or top management who understood those areas. The theory was that they hired staff who understood them. But this is an enormous risk. If you have worked as a professional in your career, you know full well that there are more areas of specialty than any top manager can know, so they hire a spectrum of professionals to handle each, rarely for their expert knowledge advice, usually because they can do the work. We often are asked to do something, contrary to our professional education. We may reason with the boss, as to why this or that is a bad decision, but the boss often says, diplomatically, that we work for him, do what he says. He does not work for us, do what we say. Thus decisions are made by managers and directors, who know nothing about some topic, such decisions can be disastrous in the long run. This problem of management knowledge structure is also true with non-profits. A parallel can be made between buying and selling stocks and bonds on margin, which was a major contributor to the Crash of 1929, which led to the Great Depression, and refinancing mortgages, which was a major contributor to the Housing Bubble Crash of recent memory, which led to the Great Recession. Before the crashes, this parallel could only be made by a handful of professionals who study such esoteric topics. Some of them did sound warnings before the crash, that there

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was high risk of this happening, but their voices were drowned out by the millions of investors, bankers, home owners, etc. convinced that financial investment values could only go in one direction.  We live in a world which is much more complex than our forefathers experienced. To an extent it is a world of our own making, thanks to how we use technology. No human can fully comprehend all the complexities, so we delegate decision-making to that technology. Most of us do not understand how the technology does its thing. But humans developed the technology, the programs that run on it, often for purposes other than how it is now being used. I like to give my fellow humans the benefit of the doubt, most are well meaning, but all make mistakes. When human mistakes are made into technology, or the rules by which society functions as spelled out by our legislators, the impact can be millions of other people inconvenienced, or placed at risk. We have seen from many recent national and international financial scandals that there is a disconnect between government regulation and the rapid pace of new technology and human systems. There is general agreement that certain kinds of activities ought to have oversight and regulation, but legislators draft laws which spell out the activities in terms of the current technology and practices. Thanks to human ingenuity, the power of computers, and technological change, we rapidly find new things we can do. These new things are outside of the previously drafted laws which were specific to the old methods and technologies. So the new activities are conducted without oversight or regulation, until human frailties lead to errors in judgment and abuses of exactly the reasons why the old activities needed oversight and regulation. So new laws are drafted to include the latest methods technologies, which continue to evolve, so that most of the time, the relevant human activity is outside any laws. This rapid pace of evolution in human affairs also means that the leaders of business, government, non-profits, also become divorced from a good understanding of what their enterprises are doing, can do, should do.

Micro Finance (1 Feb 17)
We have been hearing a lot of hype about this. Micro Credit is supposedly a sub-set of Micro Finance but many people are using the terminology interchangeably. What is it?93 Does it serve the needs of the poor.94 Riz Kahn presentations (see footnotes).95
93 94

Wikipedia FAQ It sounds like what is needed is a charity which will teach personal finance and commerce basics to the poor.

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges What are its pros and cons?

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In theory it is a way to provide basic banking services to people who are denied service by the mainstream banking industry. Promoters claim it helps the poor escape poverty. In some nations it is another way for the rich to exploit the poor. 96 In developing countries, even when poor people own land, it is virtually impossible for them to prove it, so that they can use it as collateral. For mainstream banks, there is a unit cost for servicing customers, which is similar whether the customer involvement is small or large amount of money, so they tend to discourage the smaller customers, with prohibitive minimum fees. Micro Credit has no transparency, no security, no confidentiality, no regulation. It is a new industry for crooks. Regular banks require you to prove you don’t need money before they’ll loan you any, because government regulation forces them to behave in a civilized manner, most of the time. Micro-finance, without any regulation, attracts crooks who will loan to anyone, knowing that if the customer can’t pay, they will beat out of the customer whatever they can get. Micro-finance is rooted in a real world, close to the people, where mainstream banks are close to bankruptcy thanks to gambling with fantasy lands. Micro-finance in Haiti involves banking by mobile phone. We know from other nations that any digital device can have any malware and hacking, just like recent years plague with personal computers. Developed nations have been unable to combat this disease, which is now the biggest crime statistic. Haitians have zero protection to be added to the mountain of financial crime victims. Micro-finance has a romanticized notion that the poorest of the poor are entrepreneurs who only need a bit of money for their business ideas to take off. Poor are entrepreneurs by necessity, not choice. They generally lack the skills and financial know-how to make wise risks towards success. In reality, micro-finance is a way to exploit the poor, via excessive interest rates and compound interest up to 60-100% a year in Asia, or up to that much a month in Latin America. Poor illiterate, ill informed borrowers, do not know when they are being exploited, do not know how to complain effectively.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGcWWMCR7Kw&feature=autoshare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfPCc4XoOXs&feature=relmfu Thanks to Peter Burgess for bringing this scandal to my attention. 96 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/02/17/how-microfinance-can-work/
95

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Women are treated like first class citizens, compared to how many mainstream banks treat women in some nations, except when the mafia-high interest rates lead to the borrowers getting killed.

USA Housing Terminology (0 Nov 24)
In the last decade, a series of scandals have come to light which are allegedly at the roots of the Global Economic Meltdown(s) and Great Recession, and could make the current situation much worse. Here is some terminology and concepts to help us wrap our minds around what the heck has been going on. There is a lot I do not yet understand, hesitate to include until I do find clearer explanations. These concepts are also good to plug into search engines when looking for more news updates on this crisis. Where I explain something, including some word(s) in all caps, I believe that word also ought to be defined in this glossary, which is not to say that I have done so yet.   AHMSI = American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc AG = Attorney General Banking Fraud by example o When a home-owner’s attorney questioned claims by a BoA representative, regarding why eligibility for loan modification had been denied, BoA sent the attorney an electronic copy of the original loan agreement, which had been altered to show BoA’s current claims, in contradiction to the language in the original agreement as signed by the home-owner.97 o Countrywide sold a North Carolina woman’s home at a foreclosure sale, even though she was making the timely payments required under a consent order entered in bankruptcy court.98   BoA and BofA = Bank of America Boycott is named after Charles Boycott,99 who was the land agent of an absentee landlord. Some people in Ireland lost their homes, then no one would talk with the new occupants of the home, or with the greedy landlord or his agents, would not sell

US Banking Fraud + (0 Nov 24)

Detailed on page 8 of Ms T’s written testimony to the Senate Banking committee. Her testimony is chock full of instances of systemic fraud against home owners by the mortgage financing industry, 98 See page 15 of Ms T’s written testimony to the Senate Banking committee. Her testimony has hundreds of examples like this, showing systemic fraud in the banking industry, which goes beyond occasional innocent errors. 99 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott US 9th circuit had a judicial conference in Aug 2010, later shown on C-Span, where we learned about Charles Boycott.
97

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them any products, would not work on their property. Boycotts are legal most everywhere. What is sometimes not legal are secondary boycotts.  Boycott, Secondary: Suppose we the people do not like what some company is doing in its hiring practices, outsourcing, foreclosing, environmental behavior, etc. We follow its vehicles around to identify where it is doing business, note where its logo is posted, then picket those places to tell the customers there what our objections are to the outfit it is doing business with. This kind of selective consumer buying decision is illegal some places. CDO = collateralized debt obligation CRS = Congressional Research Service

  

DEED = Document showing who has ownership title to a home, similar to the

pink slip on an automobile. The owner should have this in an important place, like a safety deposit box. The government should also have a copy of this as a public record, where the public does not get to see social security # and other personal confidential info on the home owner. This was the OLD system, until the Banking Industry came up with the MERS system to keep track of changes in who owns what property, without going through the Courthouse Records system. Was it legal for the MERS system to replace the government system? This is now being hotly disputed in every state of USA, with judges ruling in both directions. It needs to work its way up to the US Supreme Court. Also see MORTGAGE.

US Documentation Bungled + (0 Nov 24)
 Documentation Issues by example:100 o If documentation problems prove to be pervasive and, more importantly, throw into doubt the ownership of not only foreclosed properties but also pooled mortgages, the consequences could be severe. Clear and uncontested property rights were the foundation of the USA housing market, until the banking oligarchy broke the old system and replaced it with a new broken system. o If these rights fall into question, that foundation could collapse. o Borrowers may be unable to determine whether they are sending their monthly payments to the right people. o Judges may block any effort to foreclose, even in cases where borrowers have failed to make regular payments. o Multiple banks may attempt to foreclose upon the same property. o Borrowers who have already suffered foreclosure may seek to regain title to their homes and force any new owners to move out.

100

Sources include US Congressional Oversight;

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 Dual Track System

o Would-be buyers and sellers could find themselves in limbo, unable to know with any certainty whether they can safely buy or sell a home. o If such problems were to arise on a large scale, the housing market could experience even greater disruptions than have already occurred, resulting in significant harm to major financial institutions. o If a Wall Street bank were to discover that, due to shoddily executed paperwork, it still owns millions of defaulted mortgages that it thought it sold off years ago, it could face billions of dollars in unexpected losses.

o One track is the mortgage servicer working its way thru foreclosure process. o Other track is the loan modification outfit working its way through whether that can be granted, and if so will it work out. o Different companies are contacting the home owner, regarding what’s happening in the two tracks. It is extremely confusing to them. o In theory, the foreclosure process will run to the very end, then stop right before asking the judge to sign off on implementing the foreclosure, then sit there so long as the loan modification is working. As soon as the home owner misses one payment, the foreclosure runs to a conclusion. o In reality, this system is broken, thanks to crooks in the system, and poor accounting communication practices. Many people are getting foreclosed even though they never missed a payment. Everyone Greed … During the growth of the Housing Boom, many people were investing in housing, because they believed the values could only go in one direction, up. Every time houses bought and sold for more money, or were refinanced with greater value, people were gambling that they would be able to sell again at higher pricing. This process would continue, so long as there were plenty greedy fools willing to gamble. Ultimately the system ran out of gambling fools, and the boom turned into a crash. This is classic boom and bust economic theory. The boom went from approx 1994 to 2005, where the securities market in mortgage loans peaked in 2007. That’s 11-13 years. The collapse would take 1/3 that time, or around 4 years, bottoming out in 2011, except for interruptions by government efforts, and impact of all the crooks in the system. After the collapse, there will be approx 80-90 years until the next housing boom. It takes that long for people to forget the stupid stuff done in the Great Depression, then start doing that stupid stuff again.

US F+ (0 Nov 24)
    FDIC = Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation FFETF = Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force FHFA = Federal Housing Finance Agency FinCEN = Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges   ForeclosureGate101

2/18/2011 Page 56

Foreclosure, Strategic:: (by example)
o You are a home owner UNDER WATER, able to pay the mortgage, cannot get loan modification. o You move out of the house to a cheaper rental property. o You send the bank the keys to the house in snail mail ( jingle mail). o Eventually the bank sells the property at a loss. o If you are lucky, the property was purchased by a friend, who rents to you the home you have loved, for much less than what you were paying. o You continue to live in the home you have loved, you may buy it from the friend if you can afford the cash purchase – no more mortgages because the financial industry has demonstrated its untrustworthiness. o The property is no longer under water. Any payments are reasonable.

US Fraud + (0 Nov 24)
 Fraud Solutions Proposed: o Make DUAL TRACK illegal. As soon as mortgage refinance process successfully grants home owner a replacement loan, stop the foreclosure process completely. o Modernization of Lending Industry – regulators force financial industry to clean up their record-keeping o Regulate the Mortgage Servicers, just like every other financial institution has traditionally been regulated. See SERVICERS, MORTGAGE. o Take Servicers out of the Mortgage industry. Who would then do that job? There have been several proposed, noting that there is no such thing as an uncontested third party, since the US government has its fingers in this mixture of investors, loan offerings, etc.   New government agency perform the job. New kind of Bankruptsy Court to manage this.

o Treasury Dept be told by Congress that “Protect the Banks” at all costs, is not its only mission. 
101

Fraudulent Document Production and claims:

Mother Jones writes on this “The Buck stops nowhere.” Congress holds hearings, we hear the same horrible stories, and nothing happens, other than the situation getting worse.

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o When a financial institution claims a document is lost, it might not in fact be lost, it is just too much trouble for them to go look for it in a warehouse of millions of other documents, where they can get misfiled. o Some institutions do not trust their lawyers to return the original documents, especially if they are switching attorneys, and there might be some disputes when they do so. o Assuming the claim of lost document is accepted, there is a need to create replacement documents. There is an industry which services the mortgage servicers, which provides new documents, with such tools as counterfeit notary seals. As with everything else, we do not know the extent of this fraudulent activity.       FTC = Federal Trade Commission
HAFA = Treasury’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives HAMP = Home Affordable Modification Program HERA = Housing

and Economic Recovery Act

HUD = Housing and Urban Development IFLA = The Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance

US Justice + (0 Nov 24)
 
Justice Gap, Access to Justice, see “LAWYER, right to have one.”

Lawyer, right to have one, only exists in Criminal Cases in USA.102

We have all heard that a person, who represents self in a court case, has a fool for a lawyer. Well,

o 70—80 % of people in US civil cases have no lawyer. Sometimes they can

afford one but cannot find one to represent them. In 35% of these 70-80% cases, the person without a lawyer is facing a lawyer on the other side. It used to be that 95% of US home owners could not get a lawyer to protect their interests when facing foreclosure, but this has recently dropped to 80% now that there has been discovery of how exposed the financial industry is to risk of being shown to have engaged in fraud.

o The system of justice in America is a house on fire.  
4/5 of poor people have serious unmet legal needs 3/5 of middle class people have serious unmet legal needs.

o Civil cases can include:
102

Right to Counsel exists in ALL types of cases in Europe.

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges            Bankrupsy Child Custody Civil Rights
Divorce Domestic Dispute Employment, wrongful job loss Eviction Foreclosure Intellectual Property Piracy Medical Malpractice alleged Student Loans

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o Pro SE is the legal terminology for a self-represented litigant, or a person in a
civil case who does not have a lawyer.

MBS = mortgage-backed

security

US MERS + (0 Nov 24)

MERS = Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.

There are several different mortgage servicers performing a similar role, where MERS is the largest. This is a new type of financial institution invented outside the sphere of enterprises subject to government oversight or regulation, so they are able to successfully block efforts by investigators to get answers about alleged accounting irregularities.

MORTGAGE = Document clearly identifying what financial institution has a lien
on real estate property financed by a loan. The government should have a copy of this as a public record, where the public does not get to see social security # and other personal confidential info on the home owner. This was the OLD system, until the Banking Industry came up with the MERS system to keep track of changes in who owns what property, and who has the mortgage (first lien), 2 nd and 3rd liens, without going through the Courthouse Records system. Was it legal for the MERS system to replace the government system? This is now being hotly disputed in every state of USA, with judges ruling in both directions. It needs to work its way up to the US Supreme Court. Also see DEED and PROMISARY NOTE.

NACA = Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America

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Ponzi Scheme = The notion that the same mortgages may be sold to more than one group of investors. This conspiracy theory used to explain the lack of accounting trails of 103 who owns which securities, or has a legal right to which real estate properties.

PROMISARY NOTE. This is created at same time as the MORTGAGE. The

Mortgage is the declaration what financial institution is providing the LOAN, where the PROMISARY NOTE is the home owner’s promise to pay the loan, with whatever interest rate etc. info spelled out. Unlike the DEED and MORTGAGE, this was never a public record. The home owner was free at the beginning to shop around to which financial institution offered best deal for HOME LOAN, but once the mortgage and promise to repay are signed, the financial institutions are free to buy and sell SECURITIES containing MORTGAGES with any other institutions. The Home Owner may not have freedom to change whatever institution is holding the note, or refinance or adjust the deal.

PSA = Pooling and Servicing Agreement

US Put-Back + (0 Nov 24)  Put-Back: When and if the legal process is able to prove mortgage loan

documentation fraud by a specific institution, that organization is required to repurchase

the loan for the outstanding principal balance plus any accrued interest. If that bank is now out of business, the situation gets more complicated, who has to perform the repurchasing. 

ROBO-SIGNING is when people are employed for the purpose of signing legal
documents which claim those people can attest to the truth of all claims in the 104 documents, when in fact they have done no such thing.

Servicer, Mortgage105 =In theory, this is an organization which collects

mortgage payments from home owners, and delivers the money to the bank which owns the mortgage, taking only small fees for its profits. In reality, it is an industry lacking in government regulation or oversight, which is free to sabotage mortgages, because it makes much more money by forcing homes into foreclosure.  TARP = Department of the Treasury (Treasury) Troubled Asset Relief Program

See first comment here: http://www.totalmortgage.com/blog/mortgage-rates/senate-foreclosure-hearingrobo-signing-an-affront-to-state-courts/8089 104 Total Mortgage Blog wrote about a Senate Banking hearing, quoting Iowa AG Tom Miller dismissing outright the idea (frequently touted by banks) that robo-signing is a “technical issue”, saying that it is “an affront to state courts”. Thia Blog went a bit further and said that it is an affront to anyone with a modicum of respect for the concept of the rule of law. Miller is one of the people who is leading up the joint attorneys general investigation into foreclosure fraud. 105 Wikipedia on Mortgage Servicers;
103

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Title Insurance: We can purchase insurance on many risks, damage to our

property from theft, flood; liability in case of auto accident. With Title Insurance, if there is a disputed claim regarding the right of some outfit to foreclose our property, the insurance company is supposed to defend the home owner rights, provided the home owner does in fact have that kind of insurance.

US Toxic + (0 Nov 24)  Toxic securitized mortgage loans, by example.106
o Investors in mortgage-backed securities typically demanded certain assurances about the quality of the loans they purchased: for instance, that the borrowers had certain minimum credit ratings and income, or that their homes had appraised for at least a minimum value. o Allegations have surfaced that banks may have misrepresented the quality of many loans sold for securitization. Banks, found to have provided misrepresentations, could be required to repurchase any affected mortgages. o Because millions of these mortgages are in default or foreclosure, the result could be extensive capital losses if such repurchase risk is not adequately reserved. Under Water means the value of the property is below the value of the mortgage loan still to be paid back. In 2010, the total under-water deficit of all US mortgages is greater than the total assets of 100% of USA banks. The bankers are hoping the economy will recover, and drive back up the value of the homes, and that they can hold on to the under water value until it is no longer under water, or sell the inflated toxic asset mortgage values to other fools willing to pay the inflated prices.

USA Toxic Housing Assets (0 Oct 10)
A situation has arisen in the American Housing market which has a lot in common with the Haitian Housing market. One of the first news media outlets to tell me about this was Jon Stewart who uses political humor107 to show how ridiculous some messes are, much like RISKs digest for incredibly stupid technical decisions by people who ought to know better. Then I found that the story has been out and about for much longer than I was aware of it, such as on South Florida Oppenheim blog. This latest USA Housing Market Corruption is very similar to the Haiti Ownership mess, in that the people who live in the homes are screwed, while the judicial system ensures that the crooks make out like bandits. A mess has been created which could take many years or
106 107

Sources include US Congressional Oversight; See Jon Stewart Video via Huffington Post.

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decades to clean up. If the USA is incapable of rapidly resolving this, what does that say about how long it will take to clean up the Haiti mess? While I believe this latest Housing Scandal in USA has a LOT in common with the Haiti Corrupt system ... government regulators asleep while corruption-friendly systems run amok, then no-one held accountable after the scandal breaks, I recognize there are different audiences seeking mental understanding of the astronomical messes in the two different nations, so ultimately I will split off the USA info into a separate research notes document. As usual, lots of people are speculating on what’s going on, and the news media quoting them. I want to figure out what facts are provable. I also wrote about this in my Facebook Notes Oct 10, 2010. I am finding out that some foreclosures have multiple errors.

The problem in the Haitian Housing market is that the hand-written documents
showing who owns what, are often contradictory, and difficult to figure out which is valid and which fraudulent. The Haitian government had totally failed to solve this problem prior to the Jan 2010 earthquake whose recovery is now blocked by this challenge. The system is corruption-friendly.

The problem in the American Housing market is that the computerized and/or
voluminous documents showing who owns what, who has what mortgage, are often fraudulent, and difficult to figure out which are legitimate. The US court system has been ignoring the problem, until it has reached catastrophic proportions. This is a sub-set of the Toxic Asset problem apparently started by the Sub-Prime Mortgage melt-down. If you have title insurance, doesn’t that protect you in case there is later found to be something wrong with the paperwork declaring what you really have clear title to? Apparently not, there may also be fraud in that industry. 108 According to Consumer Affairs, companies with the most consumer complaints are:  Chase Mortgage  Chase Credit Cards  Bank of America  University of Phoenix 109  Lending Tree  Quicken Loans  eHarmony.com

Title Insurances Finally Get Attention Amidst Foreclosure Freezing, Oct 10 2010 Re Journal. Many big name universities were found by GAO to be engaging in fraudulent sales of education, designed to saddle people with student loans they cannot pay, so the taxpayers end up underwriting the fraud.
108 109

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Forgery is Ok when Bank does it? (0 Oct 12)

Congress has passed a bill, which looks like it will be the first legislation President Obama will veto.110 The bill would have required courts to accept out-of-state notarizations. Bank Malpractice means some Foreclosures are Fraudulent, and no one really knows what the proportion is between valid and crooked, so many people are calling for a moratorium on foreclosures until the banking industry cleans up its act. President Obama will not support this, an unpopular but perhaps wise move, since no one really expects the banking industry will ever clean up its act. When Banks pass the buck to nitch businesses, and pick and choose them based on cheapest to do the job, should they really be surprised to find that some have engaged in fraudulent practices?

Risk of Error (0 Nov 14)

We in the computer industry have long known that any record keeping system can have errors, and when those records are entered into computers, not only are the errors often copied, they can be multiplied. At the same time, there is a popular idiotic myth among many computer users who say “If this data is in the computer, it must be correct.” Those computer users can include employees at many institutions, private and public sectors. When people act on computerized data, without doing any spot checking of the veracity of that data, we can have a cascade effect of bad data feeding bad decisions. Some recent major disasters have resulted from that kind of thinking. For example before the gulf oil spill, the engineers were following a check list. One step was to do a negative pressure test. The test was a total failure, but instead of figuring out how come, the engineers went on to the next step on their check list. This was a case of relying on a flawed set of records (do this test with nothing in the instructions what to do if it failed), instead of relying on human intelligence. In addition to innocent human errors in any data, we can also have results of actions of criminal fraud, some of it perpetrated by employees of otherwise legitimate institutions.

110

New York Times Oct 7. New York Times Oct 8.

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New Orleans Snafu (0 Dec 05)
Because of a "failure in the hard drive," nobody in New Orleans has been able to close a real estate transaction for over a month. The contractor responsible for making backups apparently didn't. http://blog.nola.com/crime_impact/print.html?entry=/2010/11/computer_gl itch_stalls_orleans.html

Mortgage Investors (1 Jan 25)
Bank of America Inc.’s Countrywide Financial unit, acquired by the bank in 2008, was accused of “massive fraud” in a lawsuit by investors who claim they were misled about mortgage-backed securities.111 TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Co., New York Life Insurance Co. and Dexia Holdings Inc. are among a dozen institutional investors who filed the complaint yesterday in New York state Supreme Court. The investors claim they bought hundreds of millions of dollars of Countrywide mortgagebacked securities from 2005 to 2007 because they wanted conservative, low-risk investments. They said they relied on term sheets, prospectuses and other materials provided by the firm that were recklessly or knowingly false. The suit follows other fraud actions against Countrywide related to alleged misstatements to investors regarding the company’s mortgage-loan underwriting standards.

Home Investors (0 Dec 08)

Thanks to Stephen Nuchia for this insight: ‘As with the dot-gone crash, the take-home for the "homegamer" investor is to look at the back issues of WSJ and Fortune and see which talking heads were telling the truth in the run-up to this debacle and which were cheerleading for the criminals. Then listen to the truth-tellers in the future.’ Janet Tavakoli Explains How Banks Converted US Housing Into "Fraud As A Business Model" | zero hedge www.zerohedge.com Janet Tavakoli shares a presentation she prepared for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Supervision Summit earlier today, in which she attempts to explain to politicians how banks made fraud into a "business model" and how the damage can be repaired.

Foreclosure FAQ (0 Oct 10)

FAQ about this mess from Knoxville News Biz.112
111http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-24/countrywide-sued-by-investors-in-mortgage-backed-

securities.html

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Q. Is this really reasonable human error by big institutions, trying to save money on their paperwork? A. There's no reason to be skirting the law and sending in fake documents to courts if you have any interest in taking good faith measures to avoid a foreclosure and consider loan modifications like you're supposed to.113 Q. Aren’t errors inevitable when there’s high volume transactions processed by any organization?114 A. You have to infer some element of intent in not providing adequate staff to keep track of paperwork. Where you have the kind of very consistent pattern of losing paperwork and delaying making loan modifications permanent basically forever, there is a pattern there that I think shows intent not to comply with laws.115 Q. How is the foreclosure process supposed to go, when there’s nothing wrong? A. In judicial foreclosure states, there are requirements that certain legal papers be in order, like the party foreclosing has to possess an original note for the loan, and the mortgage has to be assigned to the party doing the foreclosure, and there ought to be a law firm that is dealing with actual, physical papers that they get. 23 states are this way. Indiana is one of them.116 In a proper functioning legal system, you'd have local law firm sent all the relevant loan documents, deals directly with someone who has authority to modify the loan, and makes critical decisions about loss mitigation issues. That was standard practice 20 years ago in mortgage foreclosures across country.117 In non-judicial states, law firms conducting private sales are also supposed to be getting all of the proper loan documents themselves in their office. They would also be in contact with the people who own the note and mortgage and could make decisions about modifications. But what you see now is the "foreclosure mill" law firms processing paperwork at a local level are often two or three levels down from even the major servicer. So say you have a major servicer like Wells Fargo, and Wells Fargo has contracts with different trusts that own mortgages. What Wells Fargo and other servicers typically do is when loans in their servicing portfolio fall into default, the information about those loans is transferred to other entities,

Additions from other sources. Knox News Q+A. 114 In Al Mac experience, this depends on the corporate system for managing data processing, having good error detection and resolution practices, good quality training for the people handling the data, not outsourcing it to people in another nation who not understand our culture or laws. 115 Knox News Q+A. 116 Evansville Courier and Press editorial Oct 15, on the Foreclosure mess. 117 Knox News Q+A.
112 113

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like this Lender Processing Services, LPS, and what LPS does is manage data platforms. LPS has the authority to hire attorneys and firms throughout the country to foreclose on those Wells Fargo mortgages.118 Q. It seems like homeowner protection depends on where you are geographically. A. Yes. There are certain states where foreclosures are carried on completely without any judicial supervision, and they can be carried out in two months, and other states where a foreclosure can take a year and half.119 Q. What recourse do you have if you are in a state without judicial supervision? A. Hire a lawyer.120 Homeowners are fortunate enough to get an attorney to represent them. You have to file a lawsuit in court to stop a foreclosure. It's a type of legal proceeding that's complicated -- it requires a motion for temporary restraining order or injunction, and it has to be prepared in a short time frame. It's expensive. There are very few challenges to foreclosures. In some states, there are very few attorneys that know how to do that.121 Several non-judicial states have recently enacted statutes that said that before a servicer can complete a non-judicial foreclosure sale, they have to complete a certification saying they attempted to contact the homeowner and reviewed loss mitigation options. 122 At housing sale closing, two documents are created. 123   One is the promissory note explaining the terms of the loan. The second is the mortgage showing there's a lien on the property and who holds it.

In the past, when a mortgage was sold, the new owner filed mortgage documents with county offices showing it now held the lien and paid recording fees. This system’s info was open to inspection by anyone in the county who had a legal interest in who owns what property, who holds the mortgage. This old system has now been broken by the mortgage banking industry, and replaced with a new broken system. As the volume of refinanced mortgages grew in the late 1990s, the mortgage industry sought to reduce its fee expenses and speed up the process of re-assigning mortgage liens as mortgages were being rapidly bought and sold.

Knox News Q+A. Knox News Q+A. 120 Arrange with a confederate to file the kind of nonsense papers the banks have been filing, to foreclose the bank buildings. Evict them, and legally seize the money in the vault. You could have a problem with the bank regulators who operate under a different system of justice. 121 Knox News Q+A. 122 But how is this enforced? 123 Fight over MERS’s legal right to foreclose makes mess worse, Oct 11 2010 USA Today.
118 119

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By having MERS hold mortgage liens for the owners, MERS eliminated the need for servicers to file paper documents reporting a lien holder change each time a mortgage was sold. MERS gives loans identification numbers, which are used to track changes in loans' servicers and owners. 124 Critics, like North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer O. Max Gardner, say the MERS database isn't always up to date, leading to uncertainty about the lien holder's identity. "Sometimes MERS members enter the information, and sometimes they don't." MERS says it has the legal right to foreclose when the owner of the loan chooses to make MERS the holder of the promissory note and gives it the right to enforce the mortgage if it goes into default. But lawyers representing homeowners disagree, saying MERS doesn't have the legal right to foreclose because it doesn't actually own the mortgage loan. 125 Some states judges have ruled in favor of MERS claims, some have ruled against. The same kinds of charges that have been leveled against the banks and mortgage companies, have also been leveled against MERS. There are a series of class action suits and organized crime charges against MERS.

Economic Impact of Scandal (0 Oct 16)
Housing analysts were counting on a speedy resolution of the foreclosure crisis to getting the real estate market back on its feet. A slower process means the housing recession could drag on longer than predicted.126 Even lenders with no known problems are expected to approach defaulting homeowners more cautiously and look more aggressively for resolutions short of outright eviction. 127 "This is the tip of an ugly iceberg," said Oppenheim. "The impact of this news will have farreaching effects to homeowners, home buyers, banks and title insurers. It will affect capital flows in the real estate market for years and rather than speed up the foreclosure process, this will gum it up and slow it down for years.” 128 The issue has broad consequences, not just for the people who lost homes, but for the millions of buyers of foreclosed homes, some of whom might not have clear title to their bargain property. One of the major title insurance companies, Old Republic National Title, has sent a bulletin to agents saying that “until further notice” it would not insure title to properties

Fight over MERS’s legal right to foreclose makes mess worse, Oct 11 2010 USA Today. Fight over MERS’s legal right to foreclose makes mess worse, Oct 11 2010 USA Today. 126 Foreclosure Errors by Mortgage Companies May Help Troubled Homeowners, Sep 29 2010 Consumer Affairs. 127 Foreclosures Slow as Document Flaws Emerge, Sep 30 2010 New York Times. 128 Foreclosure Errors by Mortgage Companies May Help Troubled Homeowners, Sep 29 2010 Consumer Affairs.
124 125

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foreclosed upon by GMAC Mortgage, the country’s fourth-largest home lender and one of the two big lenders at the center of the current controversy.129 However, there is also speculation that this scandal will force banks to start treating their customers with more dignity, and take uncertainty back out of the credit market, leading to more consumers likely to get into home ownership again. In California, where judges don't handle foreclosures, the housing market appears to have hit bottom a year ago and has been bouncing back. In Florida, where foreclosures go through the court system, prices keep falling, and foreclosure inventory continues to rise.130

White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday questioned the need for a moratorium, saying that valid foreclosures with accurate documents should go ahead. 131 "Our hope is this moves rapidly and that this gets unwound very, very quickly,'' he said on CBS's "Face the Nation"132 But Richard Cordray, Ohio's attorney general, said Sunday that as many as 40 state attorneys general across the country intend to open an investigation of lenders and servicers to figure out the scope of the problems with foreclosure documents.133 Now all 50 states are involved in this.134

MSNBC Update (0 Nov 17)
The Last Word on MSNBC Nov 17 had an update on toxic foreclosures, which they say are placing the USA at risk of another economic melt down. The fundamental problems they saw are:     Fraudulent Mortgages Banks demonize innocent home owners Financial System Corrupted to its Core Mortgage Servicer Fraud

HAMP is a government program where people can get modifications on their mortgage payment rates. People, who have been paying everything on time, contact their financial

Foreclosures Slow as Document Flaws Emerge, Sep 30 2010 New York Times. Foreclosure Delay Poses Risk, Oct 10 2010 Wall Street Journal. 131 This guy is apparently assuming that many thousands of documents signed without reading by bank executives were otherwise valid, various injustices found out by investigators were aberrations, and violating the law is not really that important unless it is a little guy doing it. 132 Foreclosure Delay Poses Risk, Oct 10 2010 Wall Street Journal. 133 Foreclosure Delay Poses Risk, Oct 10 2010 Wall Street Journal. Attorneys General in 40 States Said to Join on Foreclosures, Oct 09 2010 Bloomberg News. 134 Evansville Courier and Press editorial Oct 15, on the Foreclosure mess.
129 130

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institutions and ask for this. The mortgage servicer tells them that they are not eligible for HAMP because they have been paying on time, that what they need to do is stop paying so as to get qualified for HAMP. If they do so, what happens instead is they get Foreclosed. Why are the servicers doing this? They only break even on servicing a housing loan which is being paid on time, but they make huge fees associated with a foreclosure. How big is this problem? The lawyers defending the home owners say that they have not yet had to turn away a case because the banks had done everything correctly. Every home owner, who has gone to the lawyers for help, has been in the right, with the banking industry in the wrong.

Washington DC will investigate (0 Oct 10)
California Lawmakers have asked federal regulators to investigate the entire industry, 135 and for the GAO to review whether regulators need more authority in this area. Sen. Robert Menendez, D.-N.J., who leads a Senate subcommittee that oversees housing issues, sent letters to more than 100 companies in the mortgage lending industry. "I want to know how deep this problem goes and what safeguards are now in place to prevent unjustified rubberstamp foreclosures from happening in the future," Menendez said.136 Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, urged all five large mortgage lenders to suspend foreclosures in Nevada until they have set up systems to make sure homeowners aren't "improperly directed into foreclosure proceedings".137 Nevada, where home repossessions are among the highest, is not among those 23 states where foreclosures must be approved by a judge, meaning that the process is relatively swift. US Attorney General Eric Holder is joining several state attorneys general in an escalating legal inquiry over reports of legally dubious foreclosure proceedings initiated by major lenders.138 Attorneys General in North Carolina, Texas and Connecticut have called for wholesale moratoriums on foreclosures in their states, while California and

Massachusetts have asked particular lenders to suspend foreclosure activity.

California Lawmakers want Foreclosure Investigation, Oct 05 2010 Associated Press. Senator demands lenders reveal foreclosure errors, Oct 05 2010 Associated Press. 137 Bank of America stops selling repossessed homes, Oct 08 2010 BBC News. 138 Justice Dept digs into Foreclosure Foibles, Oct 06 2010 New York Observer.
135 136

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Nov 16 Congress Oversight Report (0 Nov 18)
The Congressional Oversight Panel's November oversight report (127 pages), "Examining the Consequences of Mortgage Irregularities for Financial Stability and Foreclosure Mitigation," reviews allegations that companies servicing $6.4 trillion in American mortgages may in some cases have bypassed legally required steps to foreclose on a home. 139 The best-case scenario embraced by the financial industry, is that a handful of employees failed to follow procedures in signing foreclosure-related affidavits, but the facts underlying the affidavits are demonstrably accurate. Foreclosures could proceed as soon as the invalid affidavits are replaced with properly executed paperwork. The worst-case scenario articulated by academics and homeowner advocates, the "robo-signing" of affidavits served to cover up the fact that loan servicers cannot demonstrate the facts required to conduct a lawful foreclosure. The risk stems from the possibility that the rapid growth of mortgage securitization in recent years may have outpaced the ability of the legal and financial system to track mortgage loan ownership. In essence, banks may be unable to prove that they own the mortgage loans they claim to own.

Fire Dog Lake on CRS report (0 Nov 20)
CRS = Congressional Research Service The article clarifies the astronomical mess140 we now are in, thanks to toxic mortgage banking practices. Here is the diagram blown up so that it is readable.141 Foreclosures are rising at the fastest rate in history, now over three times the rate at the peak of the Great Depression. The CRS report says the banks would be liable for “billions,” but worst-case scenarios by independent experts put that number much higher. This report reiterates that the servicers believe they have performed lawfully and not wrongfully foreclosed on anyone, but that the robo-signing problems could be masking more substantive issues around the true ownership of the mortgage and the property. The class actions, which could be expanded nationally, seek damages for homeowners whose properties were illegally foreclosed upon by banks using fraudulent documents. A bigger threat to the banking oligarchy are lawsuits which contend the banks’ foreclosure machinery amounted to a racketeering enterprise.

127 page report http://cop.senate.gov/documents/cop-111610-report.pdf summarized here http://cop.senate.gov/reports/library/report-111610-cop.cfm 140 http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/11/19/crs-report-details-dangers-of-foreclosure-fraud/
139

141http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Edstrom_MortgageSecuritization_POSTER_.jpg
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/11/reverse-engineered-securitization-flow-chart/

and

the

big

picture

source

(Click on it a couple times to alter scale. Thanks to Kathy Gilbeaux

locating these links for me.

for

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The land recording system that was set up in the USA in the colonial age has only recently been disrupted by the advent of MERS, the electronic registry which short-circuited that process and substituted themselves as the mortgagee on official documents, with the constant trading of mortgages happening on their database. “The use of MERS raises a number of legal questions,” the report says, “such as whether MERS has the legal standing to initiate foreclosures in its own name and to what extent recording MERS as mortgagee or assignee provides sufficient notice to subsequent purchasers under state recording statutes, which are currently being litigated in many jurisdictions.” 142 There are massive conflicts of interest, in which the federal government is among the actors.

Nov 16 Senate Hearing (0 Nov 17)
The Senate Banking Committee143 held a hearing Nov. 16 to investigate mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices, according to its website.144 I watched most of this on CSpan145 and took copious notes. When time etc. permits, I hope to access the written statements of the panelists, and other references, and link some of them here. The hearing was very spirited, with the Senators asking insightful questions of multiple panelists, then asking the panelists to comment on various accusations leveled at each other. Various other observers posted their comments on this hearing.  Fire Dog Lake said this hearing went very badly for the Banking Industry, 146 but I feel that only happened because they failed to do a good job of addressing the serious grievances against them, basically saying “errors happen”, are unavoidable, and when they brought to our attention, we do our best to rectify them. The mortgage-backed securities market is so big – $7.6 trillion dollars – that you would only need 8% of them to be put back to wipe out the capital of every major bank. And as soon as one – just one – of these put-back law suits is successful, you will see an avalanche of filings.

My notes follow, rewritten to hopefully improve clarity.

Primary Actors (0 Nov 17)
Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D) talked about the MANY problems, the importance of understanding the big picture, then working towards solutions. Minority Leader of the Committee, Senator Shelby (R) talked about the importance of getting a handle on the volume of the different problems, the role of various actors who had

http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/11/19/crs-report-details-dangers-of-foreclosure-fraud/ Banking.Senate.Gov 144 Attorneys General in 40 States Said to Join on Foreclosures, Oct 09 2010 Bloomberg News. 145 C-Span.org 146http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/11/17/recapping-yesterdays-senate-banking-hearing-on-foreclosurefraud/
142 143

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a responsibility to prevent this from happening, and the need to hold additional hearings because of problems for which none of the witnesses today are involved in many areas in need of investigation. After these two, because of other meetings going on, the plan was to have most of the Republican Senators ask their questions, then have most of the Democratic Senators ask their questions. In the middle of this there was a quorum, so they took a vote, and got 16yes 7-no. Multiple Senators shared laundry lists of the kinds of problems happening to their constituents in large numbers of incidents, which defied reason. The panelists (in order of appearance) were:  Tom Miller, Attorney General of State of Iowa, leader of the 50 state gang of AGs seeking redress, and changes to prevent this from ever happening again. (In my notes I refer to him as AG Tom”.) It is a huge collection of frustrating complexities, he says. o Radio Iowa report on AG Tom’s testimony.147  Barbara DeSoer with Bank of America Home Loans (in my notes I refer to her as “Ms BoA”). She is of the philosophy that errors and mistakes are unavoidable, but when found, they try to seek redress, improve their practices, train their people. Her statistics are mind-boggling. Apparent conflict in my notes of Ms BoA testimony: We are all actors in one box; We cannot solve this because of the other actors outside our box. o Here is Ms BoA’s written testimony to the Senate hearing. o Pro Publica later published a rebuttal to Ms BoA claims about Wall Street investors blocking resolution.  Mr. Arnold with Mortgage Electronic Services (in my notes I refer to him as “Mr MERS”). He thinks his system is superior to the nation’s property rights laws, and blames all errors on banking clerical. Professor Levitt from Georgetown Law (in my notes I refer to him as “Prof”) specializing in bankrupsy and mortgage law. He talked about dire consequences to our economy from MERS and the banks hijacking the nation’s property rights laws, then screwing them up with astronomical conflicts of interest, where figuring out the mess is still a big unknown due to legal issues with evidentiary questions.

147

http://www.radioiowa.com/2010/11/17/attorney-general-testifies-before-senate-on-foreclosures/

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Mr Loman with Chase Home Lending (he was like a clone of Ms BoA, in my notes I refer to him as “Mr Chase”). His testimony echoed Ms BoA, except for a YOU LIE protestor who needed 3 police persons to evict. Ms Diane Thomson of the National Consumer Law Center (in my notes I refer to her as “Ms T”). She had testified about related problems in July. She said NONE of those problems had been fixed. The only change was for the situation to get worse. There are cascading costs throughout our society which pose both a moral hazard and threaten our global economic stability. Basically she explained the root of the problems was that the mortgage companies believe the rules and laws which apply to everyone else, do not apply to them. She cited egregious examples of screw-ups with BoA and Chase, which their mouth pieces explained as errors are unavoidable. Sorry. o Here is Ms T’s written testimony to the Senate hearing.148

Some of the problems mentioned: (0 Nov 17)
              Serious allegations of wrong doing by a variety of institutions Predatory practices Systemic risks created by banking practices Robo-signing documents which often have fraudulent contents Paperwork lost repetitively by banking institutions Illegal fee structures Payments made by home owners are not applied to where the contract says they should be applied, then the home owners are blamed and foreclosed because of this Misrepresentation Conflicts of Interest People, with no mortgage at all, who still get foreclosed and lose their homes People with mortgages, who make all their payments on time, who still get foreclosed Banking institution personnel who tell home owners to do things, which cause the home owners to be in default, and lose their homes Why are the regulators not catching this? Why is the new financial responsibility institution doing nothing about this?

148http://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/foreclosure_mortgage/mortgage_servicing/testimony-senate-banking.pdf

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Property Law replaced by Banker Oligarchy (0 Nov 17)
Senator Shelby described how mortgages used to operate, asked what has changed, and does this constitute a violation of the property laws of US states? Several panelists replied with multiple spins on this. Much has changed. Volume has jammed up courthouse recorders offices, so they are now being circumvented, with MERS hijacking the state property public record chain of ownership, and blaming banks for all mistakes in the system. But does the courthouse get a copy of MERS info? No, the courthouses are obsolete relics to be ignored in this new system invented by the banking industry. But does the law of the land permit the banking industry to do this? Ms T explained that this is a hotly debated topic in all states, with different judges ruling different ways. She says that MERS has complicated the situation, but there are much more serious problems than MERS.

Perception in Eye of Beholder (0 Nov 17)
Senator Mike Johanns ® talked about legitimate ways to have a foreclosure, where someone fails to make proper payments on their mortgage, then asked for examples of illegitimate ways. Ms T cited cases where home owners did pay properly, but still lost their homes, thanks to bank errors and improper fees. She knows of many such cases of this widespread problem, but does not have a good sense of overall volume. She cited some statistics from cases with her company, but my phone chose then to ring, so I missed some detail. 86% of home-owners nationwide are Ok 14% are in some kind of trouble 2% is what it would be in normal times Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah) then gave Ms BoA and Mr Chase an opportunity to reply to Ms T picture of their industry’s reckless behavior. Those were errors. Errors happen. When brought to our attention, we investigate and make good. We doing what we can to help the 14%. Senator to Ms T Human beings do make honest mistakes, any institution. For example, IRS agents tell taxpayers it is Ok to do things, then they end up in Tax Court where it is not a valid defense to say they did exactly what the IRS agent told them it was Ok to do.

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The Prof supported Ms T, citing testimony where Countrywide was doing exactly what Ms T was accusing the banking industry of doing, and he went on to explain the conflict of interest where it is in the best interests of the banks, investors, community housing values, and so forth, to help consumers keep their homes, when they can afford to make the contractual payments. The problem is that the mortgage service providers, like MERS, make more money by triggering foreclosures, than helping people keep their homes. Senator Dodd also cited evidence in support of Ms T.

Conflicts and Confusion (0 Nov 17)
Senator Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) asked what laws need to be changed to fix these problems. The Prof said the laws are good, compliance is lousy. There are systems which work fine, but are not being used. His understanding of some issues are second hand and may be flawed. Under the old system, there was a paperwork trail of who owned what, and any constraints on what could be done with the property, or contracts downstream. Under the news system, the contracts can be sold from bank to bank to bank with the chain of ownership and limitations broken. As volumes grew, it became convenient to disregard the laws of the land. AG Tom said there was no way for regulators to discover this, because they each looking at the paperwork associated with a particular institution. How it was discovered was home owners able to fight back, where litigation deposed banking employees, where the fraudulent paperwork was uncovered. He agrees wholeheartedly with Sen Dodd that comprehensive review is needed. Ms BoA and Mr Chase said that the allegations about multiple liens don’t apply to them. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) had a litany of stories from his constituents. He is very disturbed about the volume and patterns. There was BoA fraud that torpedoed one person’s home ownership, while another got foreclosed when there were multiple reasons it should never have happened. Ms BoA says employees sometimes screw up, some things are confusing, but their hands are tied by the other actors. Sen Tester says that’s why we are here, we need to understand why this is happening, why it cannot be fixed. He is very concerned about the scope and scale of the problem. AG Tom agreed. We need to get at how often it happens, and how it can be stopped. There is a dual process where mortgage refinancing does not stop the foreclosure process, so consumers are being contacted by two different groups of actors, saying very different things, which is very confusing. The fact that a loan modification is in effect, and being paid properly, means that the foreclosure process is supposed to run to conclusion, then stop before actual final implementation, unless the modification payments are not done properly.

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Senator Jeff Merkey (D-Oregon) described his understanding of the dual process, then asked if he had stated it correctly. Mr Chase said yes, while others said mistakes often occur, apparently on purpose, so the foreclosure does not in fact stop. The Senator has stacks of complaints from constituents where this has happened. The banker reps claimed the old process took too long, complicated by documents problems, which apparently have not been solved by the new process. I missed who said what, when the lawmakers were asking how come the dual process could not be stopped, when there is a satisfactory loan modification. Basically the new system has split property law and contract law, introducing systemic risks to the banking industry. The money from the home owner payments is going from the mortgage servicer to the investors in the contract. Only the investors can agree to a change in the system, and getting them to come to the table is like pulling teeth. Meanwhile the servicer adds on secret fees, deducts them from the home owner correct payments, so as far as the investors are concerned, it looks like the home owner is in default. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) talked about how the dual process was a major problem. Constituents come to his office with transcripts of conversations with the institutions involved, where they are then hit with ambushes and surprise penalties, when they had done nothing wrong, according to the contracts. He went on to explain what he thought was the business case that it is in the interests of the banks, adjacent home owner values, to let a home owner who can afford the payments, to keep the home, and not foreclose, so why is that not what is happening? Why can’t we align those interests and save our economy? The Prof explained two reasons why not. 1. The servicers make more profits through foreclosures than by letting the home owners continue paying on their contracts. 2. 40% of mortgages in USA have not been securitized, but the value of the properties is now underwater (value below what is still to be paid) such that the total value of what is underwater, is more than the total assets of all the banks in the USA. Those banks try to stretch out into the future how long until they take the loss on their books. AG Tom said the quality of decision making smacks of incompetence, combined with the servicers having been asked to take on a different kind of business, which conflicts with their traditional culture.

Solution Suggestions (0 Nov 17)
Senator Dodd asked if all the panelists agreed with what Senator Bennett had said .

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In summary there was a chorus of yes’s but then there were qualifications. Ms T said the 2 track system needs to be ended; the complicated rules need restructuring, and the fees conditions need to be regulated. Senator Daniel Akak (D Hawaii) talked about the national disaster, the disaster in his state, our business here is legislation, but if the problem is non-compliance with the laws, what recommendations do you have for this to be fixed? Ms T said that legal representation for home owners can solve it, but money has not been appropriated to support the legal services and mediation needed. AG Tom echoed this. Their investigation unfinished, but they expect it will take months rather than years. He thinks     The dual track has to be stopped. The fees need to be regulated. 2nd lien is a major problem. There is massive insurance fraud and abuse.

The Prof says to take MERS type enterprises out of the picture, have some federal agency administer this, such as courts already experienced with bankrupsy. Legislate a new type of bankrupsy law just for mortgage foreclosure threatened. Where loan modification is affordable to the participants, offer cookie cutter standard solutions.

Solutions Elusive (0 Nov 17)
Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) had some subjective questions about impartiality and getting worse. The Prof repeated some stuff he had said earlier, and pointed out that the investors bought in good faith what other actors screwed up. AG Tom said the actors need to change their paradigm from the current system to solve some specific problems. Home owners should only have to deal with one person for everything to do with their mortgage, the contracts need enforcement, 2 nd lien conflicts need to be resolved. Ms BoA and Mr Chase said these problems do not apply to them. Senator Reed asked them about their changes in policies to supposedly fix this. Mr Chase said that as time goes on, the problem will diminish. My notes failed to identify who said that in the mean time, there will continue to be massive foreclosures triggered by the toxic secret fees. Senator Dodd said the new financial reform was supposed to deal with crises, we are in crisis now, how come it is not dealing with this?

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AG Tom said the new financial reform people have not been helping with this, he would love to talk with them to find out why not. Mr Chase says we need to be careful about changing systems. It sounds like he is disconnected from what they been talking about for the last 2 hours where bankers changing the old system was how we got into this mess. Someone else said (again missing from my notes … I think Dodd) that every foreclosure lowers all properties in the same block by 5% of value. Ms BoA agrees with Mr Chase. There’s not a damn thing the banks can do to fix this, because of the contractual obligations with the investors. There was back and forth about some issues previously discussed, where it was kind of decided that AG Tom would invite the investors to sit at his table with the AGs from the 50 states, and get their side of the story from the horse’s mouths. Mr Chase and Ms BoA unsure this would fix the problems. One senator asked Mr Chase and Ms BoA if they contesting Ms T’s picture. Ms BoA says her picture not apply to them because for most of their loans they are all the actors in one box. The Prof says most servicers are not in Ms BoA situation. Mr Chase says Ms T’s picture makes no sense. They make money by keeping loans with any home owner able to pay on contract. Sen Dodd says there will be another hearing, since many issues left unresolved. Then there was the question about statistics with non-judicial states vs. judicial states, does that explain different patterns. Ms BoA said it coincidental. The issues mainly relate to unemployment and other economic factors in the various states. Ms T said there have been studies showing the causative factors are how much time the accused home owners get to defend themselves. Someone said that 30% foreclosed sales are cash, not conventional mortgages. What’s going on there? Explanation … investor confidence in rental property growth My notes end there.

House Hearing (0 Nov 19)
Apparently around the same time as the Senate Banking Committee, which I got to watch on C-Span, there was another hearing on the House side, which I will identify better when I nail down more details.

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One of the people testifying at that hearing was Commissioner Walsh, Comptroller of the Nation’s Currency.149 This agency is supposed to be supervising the mortgage servicers, and the largest banks in USA. The Banking Oligarchy has used holes, in the bank examiner systems, to drive our economy into the toilet.

Foreclosure and US Courts (0 Oct 10)
23 states of USA are “judicial foreclosure” states, meaning the bank must sue the allegedly defaulting homeowner and have a judge sign-off on the decision before evicting the tenants. The other 27 states require simple notification, followed-up with an eviction notice; therefore, the burden of proof falls on the shoulders of the foreclosed homeowner if they wish to state their case in court. Some banks don’t wait on the foreclosure process. They send contractors in to change locks on people homes, so they cannot get in.150 It remains to be seen if the courts will allow this practice. Jon Stewart’s video talked about one place where a bank was doing lock changing on a home they did not have any legal right to foreclose. A homeowner in Massachusetts (a non-judicial state) was facing foreclosure and decided to sue the lender. Due to the fact that this homeowner needed to prove his case, there were depositions involving several of the lenders’ “foreclosure team.” One of those deposed said she signed 8,000 foreclosure documents without even reviewing the paperwork. 151

Toxic Foreclosure Documents (0 Oct 16)

A common problem for ordinary consumers are documents from the banking industry with astronomical volume of pages of microscopic print, which sometimes do not get studied as thoroughly as they should. We consumers have always suspected the documents are needlessly complicated, for the purpose of short changing us. With the banks buying and selling the right to bill consumers using these documents, which may contain errors, this practice is turning around to bite the industry which created them. When the Massachusetts homeowner’s attorney reviewed documents, it was found that one lender was foreclosing even though they didn’t legally own the mortgage note. In other words, the bank was foreclosing on property they didn’t even have a claim

for! Apparently this is a common practice, according to multiple news stories.

Congress passed a bill demanding that state courts accept out-of-state documents, which would have accelerated the banking fraudulent abuse. This will be the second bill President Obama vetos, using pocket veto of returning it to Congress unsigned.152
http://www.loansafe.org/comptroller-walsh-testifies-foreclosure-mortgage CBS Investigation, Sep 28 2010. 151 Foreclosure Errors Virtually Guarantee a Double Dip in Housing, October 2010 article on Land Colt Trading Blog. 152 Evansville Courier and Press editorial Oct 15, on the Foreclosure mess.
149 150

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Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has requested several Banks to stop
foreclosures pending further investigation.153

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and Texas

Attorney General Greg Abbott called on lenders to suspend foreclosure actions until they can ensure that banks have followed proper procedures. 154

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal last week asked a state court to freeze
all home foreclosures for 60 days. 155 thousands of Ohio foreclosures. 156

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has asked a federal prosecutor to review States at Greatest Risk of Housing Fraud (0 Oct 11)’
Florida, New Jersey, Virginia and Arizona are most vulnerable to mortgage fraud. 157

Florida Fraudulent Foreclosures (0 Oct 10)
Under Florida Law, documents need to be notarized, certifying who owns property, who has a legal claim to foreclose it, before filing those documents to justify legal action. Researchers with Ice Legal found tons of documents where there was a huge discrepancy between date of document, and date of issuance of the notary authority used. This meant their opponents were foreclosing first and doing their legal paperwork later. In effect, it also meant they were lying to the court—an act that could get a lawyer disbarred or even prosecuted.158 Ice Legal confronted the foreclosure firm, on behalf of their clients, but were told that the filings were just a mistake, so Ice Legal moved to depose the people whose names were on the apparently fraudulent foreclosure documents. This led to the foreclosures being dropped instead. The Ices had won their cases, but Stern's practices remained under wraps. "This was done to cover up fraud," Tom fumes. "It was done precisely so they could try to hit a reset button and keep us from getting the real goods."159

Florida Attorney General has opened investigations into multiple players in the foreclosure
business.160

California Lawmakers want Foreclosure Investigation, Oct 05 2010 Associated Press. California Lawmakers want Foreclosure Investigation, Oct 05 2010 Associated Press. 155 California Lawmakers want Foreclosure Investigation, Oct 05 2010 Associated Press. 156 California Lawmakers want Foreclosure Investigation, Oct 05 2010 Associated Press. 157 Mortgage Fraud: New Schemes Emerge; July 26 2010 Bank Info Security. 158 Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons, Aug 4 2010 Mother Jones. 159 Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons, Aug 4 2010 Mother Jones. 160 GMAC Foreclosure Probe Widens, Sep 24 2010 Mother Jones.
153 154

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Bank of America (0 Oct 12)

Bank of America Corp (BofA) extended a freeze on foreclosures to all 50 states as concern spread among federal and local officials that homes are being seized based on false data. 161 Several other banks have freezes in only some states, based on where they are more likely to get caught doing fraudulent behavior. At least seven states are investigating claims that home lenders and loan servicers took shortcuts to speed foreclosures. Attorneys general in Ohio and Connecticut have said some of the practices used by banks to take away homes may amount to fraud. 162 December 2009, Jason Grodensky bought his modest Fort Lauderdale home and paid for it free and clear, without using any mortgage. Seven months later he was surprised when Bank of America foreclosed on a mortgage he had never had.163 This was not a case of Identity Theft, but an alleged case of Bank and Lawyer Fraud, and court system overwhelmed with foreclosure cases. "The evidence doesn't matter. The proof doesn't matter. Due process doesn't matter," said Ms. Asbury, the attorney. "The only thing that matters is that they get rid of these cases."164 Mr. Grodensky said he spent months trying to figure out what happened but said his questions to Bank of America and to the law firm Florida Default Law Group, which handled the foreclosure were not answered. Florida Default Law Group could not be reached for comment, despite several attempts by phone and e-mail. Mr. Grodensky said he has filed a claim with his title insurance company, but that, too, has not resulted in any action. It wasn't until September, when Mr. Grodensky brought his problem to the attention of the Sun Sentinel, that it began to be resolved. Bank of America eventually acknowledged they made error(s) and will correct at the bank expense, said spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens. "It looks like it was a mistake in communication between us and the attorneys handling the foreclosure," said Ms. Bauwens. It turns out that it was a mistake by the Bank, and stonewalling of Mr. Grodensky’s efforts to get this resolved. Prior to Mr. Grodensky buying the property, a prior owner had had a mortgage with Countrywide, and in 2008 a foreclosure was filed with the court, then Bank of America took over Countrywide. In 2009 Grodensky purchased the property with a “short sale” meaning the lender agrees to accept less money than the mortgage value. The sale was recorded in
Bank of America extends Freeze on Foreclosures to all 50 states, Oct 08 2010 Bloomberg News. Obama will not ban home repossessions ‘fraud’, Oct 12 2010 BBC News. 162 Bank of America extends Freeze on Foreclosures to all 50 states, Oct 08 2010 Bloomberg News. 163 Foreclosure errors the result of a swamped system, Oct 09 2010 Florida Sun Sentinel. 164 Foreclosure errors the result of a swamped system, Oct 09 2010 Florida Sun Sentinel.
161

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December 2009 at the Broward County Property Appraiser's Office. Grodensky’s

money was deposited with Bank of America, which failed to put a stop to the foreclosure case.165
"From the court's point of view, we have no way of knowing that someone sells a house unless they tell us," said Judge Tobin. "The bank would first have to tell the lawyers, and the lawyers would presumably ask the court for an order dismissing the case." Thus, the court system has no idea how often the banks make this kind of error of paperwork omission. 166 Plus there’s no correlation made between the court case info and updates to the Property Appraiser’s Office.

GMAC (0 Oct 12)

September 13, 2010, the nation's fifth largest mortgage company, GMAC, stopped foreclosures in 23 states, including in Florida, after questions were raised about false documents used in court.167 Foreclosure Defense Lawyers say that the kind of problem they found in the GMAC Stephan deposition, they have also found in depositions with many other banks, including JP Morgan Chase and One West Bank (formerly Indy Mac Federal).168 GMAC Mortgage, a multibillion-dollar housing subsidiary of Ally Financial, may "need to take corrective action in connection with some foreclosures" and had halted parts of the foreclosure process in 23 states, including Florida, a foreclosure hotspot. According to a GMAC spokeswoman, some minor, non-factual errors caused a hiccup in their foreclosure pipeline. The facts are coming out that the situation is far more serious,169 such in as this deposition. Prosecuting attorney: "So other than the due date and the balances due, is it correct that you do not know whether any other part of the affidavit that you sign is true?" Stephan: "That could be correct." There's one problem with this: According to federal rules of civil procedure, affidavits like the kind Stephan was signing "must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on the matters stated." In other words, if you sign a foreclosure affidavit, you have to know what that document says—indeed, you should be so familiar with it that you could defend its contents in court. But GMAC's Stephan conceded that he really didn't know what those tens
Foreclosure errors the result of a swamped system, Oct 09 2010 Florida Sun Sentinel. Foreclosure errors the result of a swamped system, Oct 09 2010 Florida Sun Sentinel. 167 CBS Investigation, Sep 28 2010. Obama will not ban home repossessions ‘fraud’, Oct 12 2010 BBC News. 168 Mistakes widespread on foreclosures lawyers say, Sep 27 2010 USA Today. 169 A Crack in Wall Street’s Foreclosure Pipeline, Sep 22 2010 Mother Jones.
165 166

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of thousands of documents, used to foreclose on homeowners around the country, actually said. In recent years, as the number of foreclosures on banks' books mounted, some came to rely on what critics call "robo signers"—employees whose job it is to sign countless documents to keep the foreclosure process chugging along. Since this process is in violation of federal law, both the employees are crooked, and whoever told them to do this. It may even fall under the organized crime statutes. If they been doing this for years, how can bank executives now claim they are ignorant of the practice? Who hired them? Often the banks sub-contracted to other enterprises to perform some tasks, and selected the lowest bidder, without looking into how they did the work. If you pay some person or company to do something, and if what they doing is illegal, do you share any culpability for those actions? If they going to ignore the law, why do they use real person names on the documents? When I worked at a certain company some decades ago, consumers were sent “past due” notices signed by a non-existent employee name. When consumers called to complain about any alleged errors in our paperwork, they were told the employee, by that name, had been fired for being rude to customers, then the system got updated to use a different fraudulent employee name for subsequent “past due” notices. The purpose of this was to take the wind out of the sails of irate customers. “The way the plaintiffs’ lawyers have handled this has corrupted our legal system,” said Thomas Cox, a Maine lawyer whose deposition of a GMAC executive in June helped prompt the current disclosures. “They tried to manufacture foreclosures the way you’d manufacture cars, on an assembly line. It can’t be done that way.170

Iowa and Texas attorneys general have opened investigations into GMAC's mortgage
practices.171

Ohio has filed suit accusing the lender Ally Financial and its GMAC Mortgage division of
fraud in approving scores of foreclosures.172 Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said Ally’s alleged fraud was widespread. "Everything that we have seen indicates that there may have been thousands of cases where they systematically defrauded the court by filing affidavits under oath that claimed personal knowledge where the signer did not have that knowledge. In an individual case, if an attorney filed a false affidavit, that would result in swift and severe sanctions, disciplinary misconduct and so forth. The fact that this may have done on a mass scale is pretty breathtaking to us." 173

Foreclosures Slow as Document Flaws Emerge, Sep 30 2010 New York Times. GMAC Foreclosure Probe Widens, Sep 24 2010 Mother Jones. 172 Ohio AG Sues Ally Financial for Foreclosure Fraud, Oct 07 2010 Democracy Now. 173 Ohio AG Sues Ally Financial for Foreclosure Fraud, Oct 07 2010 Democracy Now.
170 171

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North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper also announced Wednesday he’s begun
investigating fifteen lenders, including Ally, and has asked them all to freeze foreclosures during the probe. 174

US Attorney General Eric Holder meanwhile said the Justice Department is looking into the improper foreclosures. 175

JP Morgan Chase (0 Oct 10)

I have had personal experiences with these people. I was traveling across Southern Illinois when I had car trouble, took to at Goodyear dealer and got Great Service. They had an offer there to get a Goodyear credit card, which I decided to apply for. Chase rejected my application because “I was not local.” What does this mean, I asked? My place of residence was not in the Chicago area, where the application was processed, I lived many many miles away. But the Goodyear dealer where I got serviced was also many many miles away. Why have this promotion at Goodyear dealers all over the USA, if all applications from people not in Chicago will be rejected? Why not only do it in Chicago area? Well the reason is a failure of communication between the Chase employees who do the promotion, and those who approve the applications. Long before BP got a black eye thanks to the Gulf Oil spill, I used to buy their gasoline. My BP gasoline credit card company was bought from BP to Chase. The rules for how many days before you must pay got changed, so now I was behind in paying. I started to get recorded phone calls claiming I was behind in paying my Texaco credit card bill. I do not have, nor have I ever had, a Texaco credit card. I thought this was probably an identity theft issue, so I would not give out any info to the 1-800 operator, that they did not already have in the calls (my phone #), because for all I knew, the 1-800 # was a front for the Mafia. It turned out that Chase has bought up many different gasoline credit card companies, and makes lots of mistakes with data processing, what is the name of this or that gas company account held by this or that customer. When finally figured out, they apologized, their error, nothing bad on me will go to Credit Rating. They lied. "I'm locked in my bathroom," Nancy Jacobini said on a 911 call. "Somebody broke into my house!" It was people from JP Morgan Chase changing the locks on a house they intended to foreclose, one in which they had no legal right to foreclose, they were acting based on errors in their paperwork, which they had failed to verify. Furthermore banks are not legally allowed to change the locks on an occupied home. So there are several errors in that incident.176 Apparently many banks are doing this lock changing activity, on homes they think they can foreclose, and hiring contractors to do it, who steal some possessions of the tenants, while they are there.
Ohio AG Sues Ally Financial for Foreclosure Fraud, Oct 07 2010 Democracy Now. Ohio AG Sues Ally Financial for Foreclosure Fraud, Oct 07 2010 Democracy Now. 176 Banks Breaking into Homes in Foreclosure to Change Locks, Oct 6 2010 Huffington Post.
174 175

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Glossary of Haiti Housing Challenges JPMorgan Chase has suspended foreclosures in 23 states. 177

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September 27, 2010, JP Morgan Chase & Company learned it faces a legal challenge in Palm Beach County, Florida, which casts doubt on thousands of foreclosures after a mortgage executive with JP Morgan admitted she did not verify documents used to justify seizing people's homes.178 In May, an Ice Legal attorney took the deposition of Chase's Cottrell, whose firm is a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase. In that deposition, Cottrell conceded that she didn't have the "personal knowledge" required to sign the foreclosure documents that crossed her desk. If they execute 18,000 cases a month, as she described in the May deposition, then there's no way bank employees who sign off can have personal knowledge of every document, critics argue. As Palm Beach, Florida-based defense attorney Margery Golant says, "They don't have any personal knowledge of this stuff. They've made a mockery out of the legal system."179

One West Bank (0 Oct 10)

A homeowner was engaged in a foreclosure from Indy Mac, now One West Bank. A judge threw out the case after ruling that the servicer’s use of a robo-signer meant the affidavit — which establishes basic facts such as the bank’s ownership of a mortgage — had not been properly reviewed. The judge also concluded that the affidavit was incorrect; IndyMac didn’t own the mortgage and therefore did not have standing to foreclose. 180

USA Foreclosure Statistics (0 Oct 10)
Realty Trac.

FTC actions fight US crisis (0 Nov 19)
There is a new FTC rule aimed at mortgage-relief scams.181 It bans companies from accepting fees for mortgage modifications before a homeowner's bank or loan servicer deems the services rendered acceptable. I do not believe this will help with the larger scandal of loan servicers adding secret fees deducted from home owner payments, which are designed to force foreclosure on homes where the mortgage payments were all made on time.

Obama will not ban home repossessions ‘fraud’, Oct 12 2010 BBC News. CBS Investigation, Sep 28 2010 179 A Crack in Wall Street’s Foreclosure Pipeline, Sep 22 2010 Mother Jones. 180 Biggest Banks Ensnared as Foreclosure Paperwork Problem Broadens, Oct 4 2010 Pro Publica. 181 http://www.housingwire.com/2010/11/19/new-ftc-rule-aimed-at-mortgage-relief-scams
177 178

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