Part of the reason for America’s financial collapse has to do with predatory lending. That is, lenders gave subprime mortgage deals to hopeful homebuyers who weren’t very financially secure before then jacking up interest rates to untenable heights. In the years since everyone caught on to these unscrupulous lending practices, Americans who fell victim to the lenders have lost their homes en masse due to foreclosure. In the summer of 2010, nearly 300,000 homes were foreclosed on, and it was estimated that banks would seize hundreds of thousands more before the year was out.
Amid it all, as you might imagine, Blacks have had it particularly hard. According to a new study from the Center for Responsible Lending and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, African-Americans are twice as likely to be foreclosed upon than whites. While some of that is due to the protracted recession all of America is currently fighting against, some of it is also due to the fact that Blacks were targeted disproportionately at the outset of the predatory lending movement.
This would be bad even if it just entailed people losing their homes, which is awful and unsettling, particularly for families. But what’s especially bad is that homeownership is a huge help in obtaining wealth later in life. Using home equity to get ahead financially helps many Americans pay for college and other big-ticket items. In other words, when Blacks lose their home they don’t just lose a house, they’re also forced to work uphill even more on their struggle to obtain and build wealth for their progeny.
In many ways, life is colder without a place of your own to lay your head.