New York Times Interactive Foreclosure Investigation Reveals Depths of Detroit’s Foreclosure Problem
The New York Times has published a new interactive database compiled from data from the center of Detroit’s ongoing financial crisis. The interactive report allows Americans to get a real look at just how bad things have become in the once proud Motor City. More than 43,000 properties are shown to be on the brink of foreclosure, with owners of those properties owing Wayne County tax collectors upwards of $328 million in back property taxes. If and when these properties are finally foreclosed upon, they will join an estimated 800,000 properties, both residential and commercial, within the city limits of Detroit that are abandoned, left to become derelicts and proof of ever increasing urban blight.
Low Income, Broken Cities, Businesses Cause Vicious Cycle
The situation in the Motor City has become increasingly dire following the city falling into insolvency in late summer 2013. The city government is said to be in more than $18 billion worth of debt, collected after years of bloated government pensions, failed under the table dealings, and an auto industry that found itself unable to compete with the forces of globalization.
Of course, the real victims here are not the government fat cats that played a crucial role in the city’s decline, but the citizenry. According to the most recently available statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 40% of Detroit residents live below the federal poverty line, making it nearly impossible to buy groceries and otherwise support a family, let alone hold onto a home.
Many have turned to real estate lawyers to at least help them avoid adding to the foreclosure statistics. Once retained, home real estate lawyers will send a cease and desist letter to lending institutions, ordering them to cease all direct contact with homeowners. By having all communications forwarded directly to their offices, lawyers are at least able to reduce the stress that builds on the shoulders of homeowners from lender harassment. During this lull, many of these firms are able to come to some arrangement with lenders to keep Detroit residents in their homes.
Unfortunately, with such a huge segment of the population pulling in less than $11,670 per year, the federally mandated poverty level for an individual, there is often little anyone can do to pull a home back from the brink of foreclosure.