Panel: Preserving Individual and Community Assets In Times of Financial Hardship
(Housing & Community Development)

Saturday, November 10, 2012: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Salon B (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Hannah Thomas, Institute on Assets and Social Policy
Moderators:  James Carr, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Chairs:  Carolina Reid, University of California, Berkeley

The Great Recession imposed a period of severe economic strain on many families across the US. Families continue to face a daunting economy with high unemployment and ongoing foreclosures. These financially strained times can drain family and community assets leaving households more vulnerable after the financial crisis than before. This loss of assets can make a family more reliant on government and non-profit supports and programs at a time when fiscal budgets are constrained. Policy has a role to play in preserving or minimizing losses of household and community assets in periods of economic downturn so that families emerge from financial strain in the most economically resilient situation possible. Preventing the loss of assets through low-cost strategies is also a more cost-effective strategy in preventing rather than bearing the costs of a surge in economically vulnerable households. This panel will explore examples of policy changes that can help preserve family and community assets particularly focused on housing as an individual and community asset. Lindblad and Jacoby’s paper addresses the question of whether bankruptcy assists homeowners in preventing loss of their home in foreclosure and find that there is evidence pointing towards bankruptcy increasing the duration of the foreclosure process and reducing the likelihood of a foreclosure sale. They suggest changes in the bankruptcy process could impact how families emerge from bankruptcy in the midst of a foreclosure. Russell, Greenbaum and Moulton examine the impacts of administrative burdens on families entering a foreclosure assistance program in Ohio. This paper looks at distance to a counselor, one of the barriers to successful entry into a program that could prevent loss of a family’s major asset. It is a first look in the literature at this question. The final paper by Thomas examines how foreclosure sales negatively impact neighborhoods in which they are located. The paper points to low-cost policy changes that could be made to prevent such negative impacts from occurring.

Bankruptcy Decisions of Homeowners In Foreclosure
Mark Lindblad and Melissa Jacoby, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Preserving Community Assets: Foreclosure Sales and the Neighborhood
Hannah Thomas, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

Homeowner Transaction Costs and Take-up Rates of Mortgage Assistance Programs
Blair Russell, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University, Robert Greenbaum, The Ohio State University and Stephanie Moulton, Ohio State University

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