“It is in fact taking place”

Yves Smith highlights a tragic piece in the New York Times about the human cost of foreclosures:

There’s a sad little story in the “NY/Region” section of the New York Times, which illustrates a not often enough discussed sort of wreckage resulting from the housing mess: that of deaths resulting from foreclosures.

Think I’m exaggerating? There have been cases of suicides, or murder/suicides of people losing their homes. But that can’t necessarily be attributed to foreclosure per se, but of personal financial disaster, with the foreclosure being the literally fatal blow. So while one can attribute their deaths to the financial crisis and therefore to the reckless behavior of major financial firms, it’s hard to pin it on foreclosures per se.

But there are some deaths that can, indisputably, be blamed on foreclosures or more specifically, the negligent management of foreclosed properties. No one should ever die because a bank failed to take proper care of a home it seized. This, just like banks seizing houses that have no mortgages on them, should simply never happen. But it is in fact taking place. [Emphasis added]

Yves’ post goes deep into how mortgage servicers are failing as property managers, as does the Times’ piece. Children are dying in Florida, falling into swimming pools of foreclosed houses and drowning. In New York, buildings which servicers are failing to keep up to code are becoming death traps. The blight of foreclosures is being added to by the blight of unkept houses – broken windows, peeling paint, un-mowed lawns, and trash in yards all reduces the value of entire neighborhoods. The point is that the extraction of money through fees and foreclosures by servicers destroys lives. It has real consequences. And, at the end of the day, no one with power is doing anything to try and stop the human damages of foreclosure fraud and foreclosure crisis.

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