The foreclosure crisis isn't an isolated problem faced only by those who lose their homes. It's a national problem, and one that impacts every man, woman, and child--even those who aren't in danger of losing their home.
Initially, it was believed that the blame for rising foreclosure rates fell in the hands of homeowners who purchased homes above their means, but they were just a small percentage of the millions of foreclosures which have devastated our communities. The truth is that most people who bought homes could afford them--they were hard-working, employed individuals who longed for the American dream--home ownership. Then the economy took a dive, and with it went those jobs that paid the mortgages. Suddenly, homeowners found themselves strapped with a mortgage payment they couldn't make in an economy that resulted in significant reductions in home values. The result is a foreclosure crisis that affects all of us, and it's everyone's responsibility to turn it around.
It's going to take a village to stop the foreclosure crisis. That doesn't mean everyone has to pitch in and pay delinquent mortgage payments. It does, however, mean that we have to stop believing that we are all powerless to do anything to fight big banks and the powers that control the mortgage industry. We must do something, because if we don't, we all lose.
Foreclosures affect so many more than the families who are left homeless. The entire community is affected by foreclosures. Here are just some of the ways foreclosures impact everyone.
•Homes in the nearby proximity suffer declining values with each new foreclosure. As foreclosures increase, the value of other homes drop, putting those homeowners at risk of owing more than their house is worth.
•Abandoned and vacant properties produce blight and invite criminal activity.
•Each foreclosure lessens a community's tax base, resulting in a decline in services supported by taxpayer dollars, such as police, firefighters, teachers, and other government workers. Not only will communities see a reduction in much-needed services, but the people who are employed to perform them will be among those in the unemployment line.
•Foreclosures and declining home values fuel the real estate crisis because lenders tighten their loan requirements, resulting in fewer qualified buyers for each home available. Sellers either cannot sell their homes or find themselves in a position where they must sell for less than they owe on their mortgage.
These are just a few of the reasons why we should all assume the responsibility of putting an end to the foreclosure crisis. Community members need to become educated and learn what's required to halt foreclosures, modify loans, and actively represent the best interests of their family, their community, and their neighbors who are at risk of losing their home. This is not a burden that can or should be shouldered only by those who lose their homes. It's a crisis that demands entire communities to become empowered and learn how they can help their neighbor save their home, while knowing they're doing their part to save their community. It takes a village, and saving one home at a time saves a village.
Anna Cuevas, known as "America's Loan Modification Guru," has guided thousands of Americans in keeping their homes from foreclosure. A popular blogger (askaloanmodguru.com), Cuevas has been called a "superhero of the loan modification industry" and has been nominated for CNN's Heroes. She is the #1 bestselling author of SAVE YOUR HOME Without Losing Your Mind or Money.
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