Cuyahoga County: New foreclosures blamed on unemployment

9:14 AM, Jul 21, 2010   |    comments
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And foreclosure counselors say most new foreclosures involve workers who have lost jobs and paychecks and can no longer cover their mortgage.

About 7,440 foreclosure actions were filed through May, compared with 6,604 in the first six months of 2009.

Case Western Reserve University's Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development compiled the latest survey.

"Half the people we see are unemployed or underemployed," says Tom Tusuksri, of the Cleveland Housing Network.

He's counseling Mary Hubbard, a former nursing home employee who lost her job a year and a half ago.

Her joblessness is compounded by a severe lung ailment that limits what kind of work she can do.

"It was going fine. I had no problems, never missed a payment, and always paid on time," she said.

She's 15 months behind on her Wells Fargo mortgage.

Her household income is now limited to her Social Security and supplemental help from her working, live-in son.

Wells Fargo is not aggressively trying to remove her from her home and is discussing a revised payment.

"Getting it exactly where we want it and she would be comfortable, that would be tough. But we're always hopeful." Tusuksri said.

Mary's mortgage balance of $106,000 is worth considerable more than her home.

Similar nearby homes have sold for as little as $60,000.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis says the administration needs to devise a plan to restore balance between mortgage value and actual value.

"We found a way to bail out Wall Street banks. There's got to be a way to create programs that keep people in their homes," Rokakis said.


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