A report by a Latino advocacy group says minority families are being disproportionately hurt by the housing crisis and need relief from foreclosures even if they lost their jobs, as well as the chance to buy affordable homes and stronger consumer protections.
By 2050, Latinos will make up 30% of the U.S. population, compared to 14% today, and immigrants will account for 82% of household growth between now and 2050, according to the National Council of La Raza, which conducted the study jointly with the Center for Community Capital, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“An estimated 1.3 million Latino families will lose their homes to foreclosure between 2009 and 2012,” said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the NCLR. About 400,000 Latino families were expected to lose their homes to foreclosure as of 2009.
Researchers interviewed 25 families in foreclosure, many victims of “predatory lending,” according to the study’s authors.
Among their findings:
- The loss of a job and a hike in mortgage payments most often led to losing the home. The families interviewed lost an average of $89,155 because of the foreclosure.
- Despite going to their lenders for help, none of the families were offered a loan modification, forebearance or other help.
- More than half of the families reported that their children had academic or behavioral problems in school because of the instability in the home. Researchers have dubbed these families “the foreclosure generation.”
- All but one family were left without savings they could tap in case of a financial emergency, and many held back on necessary health care to save money.
The study advocates loan modificatons that include a principal reduction and a strengthening of the safety net, including allowing foreclosed families to stay in their homes as renters and a program of community based, nonprofit financial counseling.
“We can assume that many of these families are going to be pushed back into poverty,” said Janis Bowdler of the NCLR. “They were knocked off that path to the middle class.
””Banks are standing on the sidelines and not doing what is in their power to do, which is to modify those mortgages,” she said. ”Foreclosure programs are not keeping pace with (the) level of devastation.”
To read the study, CLICK HERE.