The Foreclosed Upon are Increasingly Moving Into Homeless Shelters

As more Americans suffer unemployment they are falling behind on their most important debts, like mortgage payments. Reuters recently reported that a record 7.65 percent of all US mortgages are now 30 days past due, and falling behind can eventually lead to mortgage defaults.

Foreclosure always has a deeply personal side, but it’s even more difficult for those with no back up housing options. The New York Times today covers the story of Sheri West who, ironically, once owned and managed a shelter for the homeless. Unfortunately, West was foreclosed upon and now she’s homeless. Given her previous occupation it’s the last thing she expected would ever happen to her.

As recently as 2006, homelessness was basically unrelated to foreclosure. However, mortgage defaults have become so widespread that social service agencies now find roughly 10 percent of the homeless population is made up of ex-homeowners. It’s a new and growing demographic, made up of families that haven’t needed help in the past and that are humiliated by the situation. It’s just another example of the dark side of asset bubbles like we’ve seen in housing.

The New York Times has more intense and personal coverage of ex-homeowners turning to shelters.