One Palestinian Womanâ€™s Fightâ€¦To Save The American Dream
The dream of homeownership resonates all over the world.Â It is a dream that we seek because it tells us that we have finally arrived and that we have a place to build our roots, raise our children and hang the pictures on our walls in the hope that we can leave a legacy for our children and their children.Â More than ever; it is a fact that families who are homeowners have children who are more likely to go to college, commit less crime and grow up healthier and happy. Home is truly where the heart is; but for millions of American families the dream is turning into a nightmare.
Born in Kuwait to Palestinian Immigrants, Shirin Sharkawiâ€™s family moved them to Canada to allow their children to have a good education and citizenship, however; before the 1948 War, Sharkawiâ€™s grandparents sold their land, with a threat of war.Â After the war and things settled, her parents purchased land to secure their family. Sharkawi knew that land meant security and that it was land that would ultimately separate those who can plant their roots and those who will forever roam.Â It was that experience that ignited her to take action and help families save their homes.Â Â Â
It was not until the current mortgage meltdown that the world realized the greed and corruption that was woven into the very fabric of the mortgage industry. While reserching she discovered predatory lending, also known as unfair lending practices, and what it was costing hard working Americans.Â Over nine billion dollars in hard earned equity was reported to be lost each year due to predatory lending practices. â€œMany families are victims today and still do not realize they are paying too much on their mortgageâ€ says Sharkawi.Â Released White House statistics showed that over 50% of American families were paying a higher interest rate on their mortgage than they qualified for. HMDA stats showed the average African American and Hispanic family, with good credit scores received a 2-3% higher interest rate on their mortgage than a Caucasian buyer with the same credit. On a $300,000 loan, a family who pays 2% more would lose $700 per month and over pay by $300,000 in interest over 30 years.
Sharkawi began the journey to save the dream by launching FCLS, Fair Community Lending Services Inc, in 2003. FCLS is a company that connects consumers with fair brokers and lenders who follows strict guidelines in order to protect consumers. She began to reach out to media, organizations, non profits and faith based groups in order to reach the public, and arm them with the education to make wise choices when buying a home or other real estate.
Â â€œI, too, was overwhelmed when I did my first showâ€, comments Sharkawi . â€œVictims of predatory lending were calling and emailing me in record numbers for help. Many were about to sign their paperwork with a predatory lender or broker, and realized that they were victims after hearing the show. I was making a difference by reaching people and I started to save homes. I cannot imagine not doing what I do today,â€ continuesÂ Sharkawi, who stays up answering emails into the late hours of the night, from struggling homeowners, emailing her on her community website at www.savetheamericandream.tv. â€œI get emails with headings like â€˜HELP MEâ€™ all the time. Americans are struggling so badly and we must do something about this,â€ says Sharkawi
Sharkawiâ€™sÂ â€œSave The America Dream: How to Modify your Mortgage and Rebuild your Credit can be purchase as either an E-book or a work book. ItÂ walks families through the step-by-step process of a loan modification. The book is simple to understand, and will teach consumers at any stage of their loan modification or foreclosure process what they need to know to have the best chance at either saving their home or avoiding foreclosure with other alternatives such short sales or died in lieu of foreclosure. The book also takes things a step further, by helping consumers learn how to rebuild their credit after setbacks, and what it takes to buy a home after foreclosure and bankruptcy.
As many families struggle to save their homes some families struggle to put food on the table; that is why $2.00 from each book will go to food banks across the United States and towards transitional houses for displaced families.
The American dream is worth saving and regardless of our color, age, or race, â€œhome is where the heart isâ€ and the dream to attain one is something we can all relate to.