More than 7 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale between 2007 and 2014. Three years ago, my husband and I became of them. And like the housing market, despite much improvement, we’re still recovering.
While we hear far less about the real estate crash that’s not so far behind us, it has left a permanent mark on many communities. Decreased property values lower municipal tax revenues, which lead to cuts in services. Stressed municipal services and underserved schools result, continuing a downward spiral. Vacant, neglected properties are targets for vandals. While homes in desirable zip codes are again selling these days, poor and minority neighborhoods simply haven’t seen the same rebound.
And millions of families like mine, who lost their homes during those crisis years, find ourselves in a far different reality than we imagined when we bought them. These economic forces feel personal to us, even as their effects linger on years after we’ve moved out and moved on. [Read more]