The foreclosure crisis that the United States faces is not one of a singular mistake or instance, but one of several factors all coming into play in the same period of time. One can not merely solve the foreclosure crisis, and there can be no step-by-step process to “fix” what has been done to the American economy and industry, and ultimately, its citizens. However stabilizing communities ravaged by the current foreclosure crisis will be the most important first step in solving the problem at hand. It is with personal experience that I speak to the issues regarding critical stabilization for neighborhoods now devastated with the current foreclosure crisis.
It is accurate to condemn foreclosure as a crisis. Homeownership creates the economic benefits of jobs, fees, sales, increased tax revenues and the negative effects of foreclosure are devastating not only to the economy, but to the family as well. We know that homeownership raises self-esteem and confidence. According to national surveys, homeowners are happier. They view owning a home as a symbol of success, giving families a greater sense of freedom, security, empowerment and independence. Homeownership also creates a positive, stable environment for raising families as well as having a profound effect on children. Children of homeowners are more likely to stay in school, out of trouble, and are more likely to buy their own homes.
In theory, inner-cities were already experiencing slow-motion destruction. When industry and factories faded, neighborhoods followed. As a result to that post WWII activity, employment bases changed and continued to leave large tracts of unsightly residential properties. White flight, suburban sprawl and underutilized properties are a topic for a different day but nonetheless will need to eventually be incorporated as a comprehensive solution.
It was no accident that my community service efforts began while studying the present condition of my city and previous efforts to combat the blight created by both abandonment and foreclosure. With thousands of sold to state tax deeds and little State legislation in place giving cities command over properties within their jurisdiction, millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted in an effort to combat this blight. For some time, community leaders and organizers have been working with community development departments, urban planners and non-profits to remediate blighted areas within inner city neighborhoods. All with a passion for urban renewal, however, the lack of vision of where to start or how to coordinate the effort cause grant dollars to become lost.
The National Association of Home Builders plea for the health of the nation and the positive economic stimulus of housing was overlooked during a 2006 petition to Congress. This distinct disconnect is evidence of today’s crisis. Today, dollars are currently flowing to recipients of The U.S. Department of Housing, Urban Development (HUD), and Neighborhood Stabilization...