: kcrw – excerpt (includes audio)
By Anna Scott
Standing in her den, Gwendolyn Lang looks up at a faded family portrait on the wall. Taken in the late 1970s, it shows Lang and her late husband with five of their six children. “All except one,” she said, adding that the son missing from the photo “never liked being around all the other kids.”
Lang, 80, has lived in this small, beige house in Gardena for 50 years. Now, despite the framed photos still on display, she’s moving out. Half-packed cardboard boxes sit on the floor. Lang was foreclosed on earlier this year because of her participation in a program called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, which provides LA County homeowners with no-money-down loans for eco-friendly home improvements. Borrowers repay the loans in installments that get rolled into their property taxes.
Critics of the program say lax lending standards have paved the way for predatory contractors to take advantage of elderly homeowners like Lang
Dotting the i’s
Cities and counties around the country have PACE programs. In California, PACE has funded more than $3 billion in efficiency upgrades in recent years, according to the state treasurer’s office. The way it works in Los Angeles, the county funds the program but contracts with private lenders to handle the financing. The ground-level work of finding participants and signing them up generally falls to home improvement contractors, sometimes going door-to-door. That’s how Lang met Frank Achuff in January of 2016… (more)