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The foreclosure crisis is now having dramatic effects throughout America. In mid-2008, recognizing that this phenomenon was still quite new, the Open Society Institute asked the Urban Institute to scan available research to document what we know about: (1) the way foreclosures impact families; (2) how foreclosures affect communities; and (3) the efforts now underway, or being suggested, to address the crisis, focusing on actions at the local level. This report summarizes a longer report presenting the results of this review.
This decade may well turn out to be the
most tumultuous in the history of U.S.
housing markets. The period from 2000 to
2006 saw an unprecedented acceleration
in home prices almost everywhere, and
homeownership expanded markedly as
access to subprime loans and other factors
made it much easier for lower-income
families to purchase a home of their own.
Then it all fell apart. Prices in most regions
have since plummeted and foreclosure
rates have increased dramatically. Almost
all American communities are affected,
but levels of foreclosure are much higher
in some neighborhoods and metropolitan
areas than others.
Recognizing that this turnabout was
still quite new, in mid-2008 the Open Society
Institute asked the Urban Institute to scan
available research to assess what we now
know about the way foreclosures impact
families and communities and about policies
and programs suggested or underway to
prevent or mitigate those impacts. The
results of this work have been documented
in a separate report1 and elements have
also been made available on a new web
In addition, it was felt that this companion
piece would be valuable: a brief overview
that enables readers to get a sense of the
full story quickly—impacts and response
strategies—and then identifies sources
where they can find more complete information
on topics that are of special interest
Local practitioners and advocates who
want to play a role in responding to the
crisis are the primary audience for this
- They may use information about the
potential harm to children, the elderly,
neighborhood safety, and local property
tax revenues to raise public awareness
and build local support for action.
- This information can also be used to
engage organizations—like schools, child
welfare agencies, or police departments—
that might not otherwise see the foreclosure
crisis as relevant to their mission.
- And information about response strategies
being developed in other areas can
help them design strategies appropriate
to their own cities and neighborhoods.
(End of excerpt. The entire
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