Foreclosing in

"Foreclosing in" Continued...

Issue: "Effective Compassion," June 16, 2012

"When you go to work and that is your routine, when something does happen like this you have no idea which way to go," said Dilard, who is still unemployed. "It's like being in a dark cave and every tunnel you go through, when you think you are on your way out, just ends up leading to another dark area." Her eligibility for the hardest-hit program runs out in August. Unless the job market improves in Florida, then the government aid was just a brief reprieve for Dilard. She will face again a reckoning with her bank.

Dilard likely won't be alone. Many banks halted foreclosures in 2010 with the discovery that fraudulent and inaccurate paperwork plagued the system. But the $25 billion settlement that top banks reached with the government earlier this year over the foreclosure mistakes has now cleared the way for banks to resume going after a mountain of unpaid mortgages. "The dam may not burst in the next 30 to 45 days, but it will eventually burst," predicted RealtyTrac chief executive Brandon Moore.

Meanwhile, at least 15 states are diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from that $25 billion settlement to fill budget shortfalls instead of helping homeowners. Georgia is using $99 million to recruit companies to the state, Missouri is using $40 million to help higher education, and $125 million went to the Texas general fund.

Sanchez said his group counseled 1,500 persons facing foreclosures in 2010. While that number dropped to 800 in 2011, he expects about 1,200 foreclosure clients this year as this second wave of foreclosure hits. With the government programs faltering, people like Bailey and Dilard are hoping that they will be able to rescue themselves by finding work.

"If we have a robust job market you will see many housing problems resolved," said Chuck Bentley with Crown Financial Ministries. "The government is trying to have the dominant position in managing the housing crisis, but they are ill equipped to run the system efficiently."

Housing statistics

Eleven of the nation's 20 largest metro areas based on population documented annual increases in foreclosure activity, led by the Florida cities of Tampa (59 percent) and Miami (38 percent). Other cities with increases included St. Louis (29 percent), Chicago (26 percent), Philadelphia (24 percent), and Atlanta (21 percent).

States with the highest foreclosure rates for April

Number of housing units with a foreclosure filing:

  1. Nevada: 1 in 300
  2. California: 1 in 351
  3. Florida: 1 in 364
  4. Arizona: 1 in 377
  5. Georgia: 1 in 398
  6. Illinois: 1 in 418
  7. Utah: 1 in 419
  8. Michigan: 1 in 487
  9. Ohio: 1 in 525
  10. Wisconsin: 1 in 547

Metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates

Number of housing units with a foreclosure filing:

  1. Riverside-San Bernardino: 1 in 213
  2. Miami: 1 in 273
  3. Atlanta: 1 in 298
  4. Phoenix: 1 in 313
  5. Tampa: 1 in 315

Source: RealtyTrac

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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