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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Elderly Americans hit hardest by home foreclosures — retired and no place to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The elderly are among the hardest hit by the U.S. housing crisis, with 600,000 Americans over the age of 50 facing foreclosure. The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) found that to date, more than 1.5 million Americans have already lost their homes – and the elderly are increasingly more likely to join them. Those over the age of 80 are in the worst condition, with one out of every 30 facing foreclosure. Often having burnt through their savings, receiving an inadequate pension, and dealing with the loss of a deceased spouse’s retirement benefits, the elderly struggle to make their mortgage payments.
“These are people who in many instances have never missed a payment in 20 years,”said Rep. Elijah Cummings.“You see grown men crying because of the potential loss of a home.”
The housing crisis brought down property values, and 16 percent of older homeowners owe more than their houses are now worth. In the past five years, the number of seriously delinquent older Americans has risen by 450 percent. Although 80 percent of Americans over 50 own a home, they are the group most at risk of “serious delinquency” on mortgages. Three million are currently at risk of losing their homes. Of the elderly, African-Americans and Hispanics are struggling the most. Of older African-Americans, 3.5 percent were in foreclosure at the end of last year, compared to 3.9 percent of older Hispanics and 1.9 percent of whites. Roy Johnson, 79, allowed the Georgian home he owned since 1963 to fall into foreclosure when he could no longer make his mortgage payments. Now, he lives in his 55-year old daughter’s basement, he told the New York Times.
“I planned to die in that house,”he said.“But I guess it won’t work out that way.”
Jewel Lewis-Hall, 57, is working two jobs and still struggling to make her mortgage payments on her Washington home. “You’re used to living a certain way, but one thing leads to another,”she said.“It’s not like I have a new car or anything. I’m driving one from 1991.” In addition to harming ones financial security, AARP also found that those facing foreclosure are more likely to have increased medical visits for mental health conditions (including anxiety and suicide attempts), hypertension and stress-related conditions. For Americans over 50, foreclosure rates have gone up by 873 percent since 2007, and 90+ day delinquency rates have gone up by 294 percent for the same age group.
Some foreclosure victims have been able to renegotiate their loans with banks to keep their homes. Others have sold their houses for the low price it would be sold after foreclosure. But in the midst of the Great Recession, foreclosure is on the rise and savings are on the decline. Half of those in their late sixties and early seventies have no money in their retirement accounts, and may be nearing financial catastrophe.
“This is the lowest point in my entire life,”said 69-year old Charlotte Orton, who is facing eviction and has no family members to stay with in her home state of Florida.
AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm23.05, 23:3613 comments

Californian commits suicide two days before foreclosure

Norman Rousseau didn’t have to leave a suicide note when he took his life on May 15. Those close to the 53-year-old California man were well aware that an ongoing foreclosure battle with Wells Fargo had put him on edge.
San Francisco police arrest a demonstrator during a protest outside of the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in the Financial District in San Francisco, California April 24, 2012 (Reuters / Robert Galbraith), Video courtesy - Michael:, 07:0810 comments

Arrests as Occupy slams mortgage bankers in San Francisco (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Hundreds of people took to the streets of San Francisco to vent their anger against unfair foreclosures. Police were standing by, and detained 24 people.
Occupy Wall Street
A man stands on Hollywood Boulevard as the sun rises near the site of the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 23, 2012 (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)01.04, 08:042 comments

Down and out in Skid Row: Homeless in the City of Angels

Los Angeles is widely seen as the capital of America’s movie industry and home of upscale neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills. But right in its underbelly, lies Skid Row – a mecca for the city’s homeless.

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