Beyond dollars and cents: non-financial impacts and implications of the foreclosure crisis for low-income minority communities
Cooper, Daniel Gordon
This paper provides an examination of the foreclosure crisis from the perspective of community-based organizations (CBOs), aspiring low-income homeowners, and very low-income households. It looks backward to examine the long-term success of low-income homeowners who purchased a home from a CBO, comparing foreclosure outcomes with a random community sample. It also explores two current populations—aspiring homeowners and very low-income renters—to understand how neighborhood foreclosures affect psychological and social processes and overall neighborhood confidence. Results indicated that CBO home purchasers were less likely to experience a foreclosure and more likely to still be living in their home. Results of analyses with aspiring homeowners found that sense of community was the strongest predictor of neighborhood confidence. However, perceptions that neighborhood crime and foreclosures were worsening negatively predicted sense of community. Therefore, sense of community was shown to partially mediate the relationship between perceptions about foreclosures and neighborhood confidence. Hierarchical linear models (HLM) also confirmed a negative relationship between the actual neighborhood foreclosure rate and sense of community. Thus, concentrated foreclosures appear to reduce confidence in a neighborhood by negatively impacting sense of community. In addition, analyses of very low-income households found perceptions that crime was worsening to negatively predict general well-being. Overall, findings indicate that neighborhood foreclosures have a negative impact on psycho-social processes associated with healthy, stable neighborhoods. This suggests that future CBO neighborhood stabilization efforts should also include deliberate community-building strategies in addition to property rehabilitation.
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