Thursday, April 16, 2009

Helping Victims of the "American Dream" of Homeownership

"A lot of my clients are disabled women and elderly women… Brokers didn't care that they couldn't pay the (mortgage) loan because the house, they thought at the time, would always be more valuable than the loan." -- A Florida attorney.

The current economic crisis in the United States is not just about companies going bankrupt, but also about individuals facing severe financial hardships.

In this vlog we meet lawyers in the southeastern state of Florida who are helping some of these people for free. They don’t want to add legal fees to their clients’ financial burdens. The lawyers say they want to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.

When Florida’s housing bubble finally burst and its inflated real estate prices tumbled, state residents were especially hard-hit. Even as they struggled with impossibly hefty mortgage payments and mounting credit card debt, many homeowners lost their jobs and, often, their health insurance, too. Across Florida, home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies have soared. It’s a financial crisis with a human face.

This recent television report by Sean Maroney shows how some poor families have been forced to move into low-cost motels.

People need jobs more than ever right now, but as Julia Ritchey indicates in her radio report, U.S. jobless rates are climbing.

Another television report by Jeff Swicord shows how laid off workers in the northeastern state of Pennsylvania are trying to learn new skills to get new jobs.