Foreclosures Plague African-American Neighborhoods

Pamela Jones, KCAL-TV (Los Angeles), December 15, 2009

Experts say it’s becoming a crisis in Chicago: Homeowners losing almost everything in foreclosures. One agency tracking foreclosure filings is reporting at least an 18 percent jump in new foreclosures across Chicago, and the year isn’t even over yet.

As CBS 2 [KCAL]’s Pamela Jones reports, African-American families in certain Chicago neighborhoods are being hit the hardest.

The Woodstock Institute says there have been more new foreclosures in Englewood and West Englewood than in any neighborhood across the city; two neighborhoods heavily populated by African Americans. There have been 725 foreclosures in just the first nine months of this year.

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Harbin {snip} says when she applied to re-work her loan, “They told me I didn’t qualify because I wasn’t behind on anything.”

She says they told her not to pay her bills.

It’s fueling what some mortgage counselors call a vicious cycle in neighborhoods like hers, pushing homeowners into foreclosure, leaving homes vacant, especially the homes of African Americans.

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Tom Feltner is vice president of Chicago’s Woodstock Institute, tracking new foreclosures, especially in communities of color.

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So why is this hitting African-American neighborhoods so hard? CBS 2 is told it started with loans that had bad terms being pushed in that community more.

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