The latest statistics show that the foreclosure rate in our area has risen 57% since March of 2007. A foreclosure is truely a sad event. It results in a family loosing one of their most important possessions. Shelter is a basic human need so when a family – often with small children – looses their home, it puts them in a survival situation. Often, the turmoil associated with a foreclosure can be devastating to a family – tearing apart husbands from wives and even children from mothers and fathers.
It’s easy to look on people experiencing a foreclosure as bad people – irresposible – someone that did something they weren’t supposed to do or didn’t pay a bill that was due. However, the truth of the matter is that many foreclosures are the result of situations that aren’t predictable. Still others are the result of a lack of information and education during the buying process.
Often, a foreclosure is the result of financial hardship – the loss of one’s job, sickness or other unforseen circumstances. As our country stands on the brink of a recession, jobs are getting difficult to find. Companies are cutting back and laying off. For single-income families, the loss of that income is devastating and often un-expected. My own father was laid off several months ago and has been looking for a job ever since to no avail. If he had to provide for a family and pay a mortgage at the same time – if this would have happened 20 years ago – we would have likely joined the many people facing the decision of whether to spend an unemployment check on food or a mortgage.
Sickness can also place someone in extreme financial hardship. The inability to work combined with incomplete healthcare coverage – insurance companies seem to love denying claims nowdays – leave folks at thier most vulnerable the inability to earn income combined with a lot of extra healthcare bills. Again – a financially devastating situation that is nearly impossible for single-income families to bear.
The truth of this is that, these situations can happen to anyone at any time – they are the unforseen bumps in the road of life. For homeowners without a mortgage or enough equity in their homes, sometimes these events can be weathered. For the rest – foreclosure is often the result. These are not bad people – they are people who loved their homes. I see it almost every time I enter one of these homes – schoolwork and A+ papers on the fridge, toys, family pictures and heirlooms left behind in the chaos. These aren’t people who knew this would happen to them. It’s easy to think of people experiencing foreclosure as “those people” who did something wrong. However, we need to keep in mind that if this was a choice these buyers had when they purchased the home – if the loan paperwork had a box you could check that said “Foreclosure in 2 years” – I don’t think anyone would check it.