The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that a record number of loans -- one in seven -- is delinquent, up from one in 10 a year ago.
Today's numbers also show that one in 22 families in the U.S. is in the process of losing their home, up from one in 34 a year ago. Based on these figures, we are now on track for 2.9 million foreclosure starts in this year alone.
The lenders' trade association is quick to blame this worsening trend on higher unemployment levels. But that ignores the fact that reckless lending precipitated the economic crisis and prolongs it each day with every new foreclosure, which forces down surrounding property values.
These foreclosures are devastating for a family and a community. I consult to Ozaukee Family Services in Wisconsin, and we are seeing family after family struggling to keep their house or support their children after losing a job. Yes, some bought houses that they could not afford, but the majority of people coming in are just like me.
They are people who have worked hard and have lived within their means. But a sudden job loss, medical crisis, or family problems have left them using up resources and struggling for the basics.
Ozaukee Family Services is located in one of the most affluent counties of Wisconsin yet we had hundreds of people lined up a few weeks ago to sign up for energy assistance.
I know that our experiences here are but a microcosm of what is going on in the rest of the country. The fallout continues.
Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro