Without a home without any help

U.S. foreclosures are spreading and increasing with little government concern.

U.S. home foreclosures are increasing and spreading. Increasing, according to RealtyTrac, as there were 635,000 foreclosure filings in the third quarter of this fiscal year; a 30 percent increase from the last quarter and nearly twice as many as the previous year. Spreading, as foreclosure filings are consuming communities because property values and tax bases are in decline. What’s more, it is not just the poor filing for foreclosure – the crisis is spreading into the middle class as too many Americans have borrowed far too much to pay for their homes.

This year, one out of every 196 households will foreclose. Some states, such as Michigan and Ohio, are struggling due to weak economies – high unemployment – and overlending. In other states, unsustainable mortgages are the cause.

In North Minneapolis this year, there will be 1,500 foreclosures in the Hawthorne and Jordan neighborhoods alone, compared to about 700 last year. According to a new study by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, more than 11,000 homes were foreclosed statewide last year, nearly double than what a national study had reported. Outside the metro area, there was a 48 percent increase in foreclosures between 2005 and 2006. A 91 percent increase is predicted in foreclosures between 2006 and 2007. Overall, there will have been more than 15,000 foreclosures over the past two years in just greater Minnesota, not including the metro area.

As foreclosures increase, the statistics tell us crime does too. According to a recent study by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Woodstock Institute in Chicago, violent crime rises 2.3 percent for every one percentage point increase in a neighborhood’s foreclosure rate.

Yet as Americans are increasingly being forced from their homes due to economic hardships or overspending, the U.S. government has remained relatively quiet. Some officials in the Bush administration are weary of offering assistance for fear of encouraging continued overborrowing in the future. However, the problem does not solely belong to the borrower – the lender, most often of subprime loans, is also to blame. The lending industry needs more government regulation. If not, the havoc foreclosures have wrought will certainly spread and even more will be homeless.