Foreclosures, home modifications, lender fraud and evictions affect all our population in some manner through direct or indirect involvement.
One ignored group in the mortgage debacle – the children. Children have been overlooked and ignored. They are the forgotten. Very little has been said about the children affected by the foreclosure crisis.
A study out this month states the foreclosure chaos has impacted the lives of 8 million American children and left their families at risk of homelessness and poverty. The hardest hit states are California and Florida.
During the first wave of foreclosures 2.3 million children lost their homes. In the next few years, estimates of another 6 million children will face foreclosure.
Let’s think about those figures – let those figures sink in. The number of children displaced daily is the equivalent of to the number of children in 12 Colorado primary schools. That’s 12 empty schools being closed every day. That’s a lot of children.
Children can’t control what the banks do. They don’t have an input, they can’t help with job loss. They have very little say in the family’s misfortunes. These children are displaced suddenly, or what they think is suddenly.
The effects of foreclosure on these children will last their entire lives. They’ve been uprooted and locked out of their homes. Their secure, little worlds have been shattered. They have to move to another city or state, attend new schools and have to make new lives. Some move in with relatives, living in an overcrowded dwelling. Families are split up among friends and relatives, live in homeless shelters, or their family cars.
Children who are forcibly displaced from their homes suffer emotionally, socially and academically. Even 5-year olds feel loss and get extremely sad and frustrated they can’t do anything to make it better.
In many sad instances, children have to leave behind the relics of their childhood – games, toys, stuffed animals and their precious memories. Parents can’t afford to pack everything. Some wait so long the eviction comes quickly with no time, or very little time to pack. Some pack their belongings to be placed in rented storage areas. Children are left wondering if they’ll ever see their belongings again.
Children whose parents are in the midst of foreclosure suffer too. These children live day-to-day in fear of losing their pets, wondering where they’ll go, where they’ll live, if they have to go to a new school, lose their friends. They can feel shame and embarrassment.
Under federal law, students who lose their homes to foreclosure can remain in their schools until new permanent housing is found, even if they move to another district. If they find fixed-living arrangements during the academic year, they can stay in their schools till the end of the school year.
Close to 30% of families have had little or no warning of eviction. They’re the ones living in apartments or condominiums. The landlords or owners default on the mortgage and the tenants are evicted with just days to pack up and get out. There have been instances where the landlords tell the tenants to ignore eviction notices – still collecting rents each month. Tenants come home to find the locks changed and are unable to enter their homes or get their belongings. Families living paycheck to paycheck find themselves on the streets with no money for new down payments and security deposits.
With all that’s been said, written and heard about the foreclosure crisis, why haven’t we remembered the children? Even with the stability of schools these forgotten children are entering and leaving, their social and emotional development – these children have still been overlooked.
Is there a problem within the division of government departments and agencies? Is the housing department thinking it’s not their problem, their area? Are they thinking it’s an education problem therefore the Department of Education? Employment? Health?
Why have these children fallen through the cracks?
Families in fear of losing their homes need to contact a competent attorney specializing in foreclosure, home modifications and evictions who will look after their interests and not the interests of the lien holder or bank lender.
Colorado especially, has a unique and more complicated foreclosure process.
A competent foreclosure defense attorney can sit down with you for a consultation and go over your options and explain where you are in your process.
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a Colorado foreclosure defense attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. He also handles bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.
This article is not intended as legal advice. The opinions of this article are solely the opinion of the author.