New Report- The Housing Crisis and the Working Poor

249 Casas del Pueblo Community Land Trust is excited to announce the release of a ground-breaking new report: The Housing Crisis and the Working Poor- Problems and Solutions from the Community Level

The paper is about the housing crisis, both the endemic crisis that makes decent affordable housing an unrealizable dream for one-third of all American households, and the housing bubble that burst in 2006 forcing millions of working poor homeowners into foreclosure.  It is written from the perspective of the working poor, a perspective that is sorely lacking in the national debate around housing.  We draw the following important conclusions:

• The working poor, especially people of color, suffered the greatest losses from the current housing crisis, while real estate speculators are the only winners.

• The foreclosure/eviction process sentences working poor families to lives of poverty and has negative impacts on entire neighborhoods.

• In one-third to one-half of foreclosure cases in low income neighborhoods, banks lose more by proceeding with foreclosure than by simply donating the properties to community groups.

The information presented is grounded in a thorough review of the academic literature combined with our collective experiences in real life housing foreclosures.  Based on calculations by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, we develop a simple formula for calculating the bank costs for the foreclosure/eviction/REO liquidation process.  We offer a creative alternative that saves banks money while also stabilizing families and neighborhoods – donation of properties to community-based organizations.  Finally, we outline a functioning Community Land Trust and we invite financial institutions to discuss collaborations that can improve the bank’s bottom line while also keeping families out of poverty.  We address several possible concerns about this approach to loss mitigation, and we invite the major financial institutions in the US to discuss with us the donation option as an alternative to foreclosure.

Download The Housing Crisis and the Working Poor- Problems and Solutions from the Community Level