case western reserve university



November 06, 2013

Report: Broken Homes, Broken Dreams

Broken Homes, Broken Dreams: Families' Experiences with Foreclosure

The housing crisis has changed the face of the housing market, devastated communities, and disrupted the lives of families. In Broken Homes, Broken Dreams: Families' Experiences with Foreclosure, the third Briefly Stated report released by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development in 2013, this study explored 29 families' experiences with foreclosure, documenting their experiences from the time they first obtained their mortgage until they faced foreclosure (and in a few cases, after). The study, funded by an Interdisciplinary Alliance Investment Grant at Case Western Reserve University, was led by an interdisciplinary team of investigators, within and outside of Case Western Reserve University, including Cyleste Collins, a Senior Research Associate at the Poverty Center, David Rothstein (formerly of Policy Matters Ohio), director of resource development and public affairs for Neighborhood Housing Services, Claudia Coulton, Co-Director of the Poverty Center, and Jill Korbin, and Gabriella Celeste of the Schubert Center for Child Studies.

Adults who were living with children under the age of 18 at the time of the foreclosure, participated in in-depth interviews in which they described how they had selected the right home and mortgage for their family, the event(s) that threatened their ability to make their mortgage payments, their efforts to cope financially and emotionally, and the impact of the experience. Whereas the interviews give the foreclosure crisis a human face by painting a picture of financial, social and emotional distress, they also suggest the families' experiences are nuanced and complicated, and point to areas for potential future intervention.

The study asked: (1) What experiences led to the family's facing foreclosure? (2) What did families do to deal with the foreclosure? (3) What are the meanings of home and of the foreclosure for the homeowner and his/her family? (4) What has been the impact of the foreclosure experience on the homeowner and his/her family?

Debbie Taylor, an addiction counselor at Meridian Community Care in Youngstown, OH contributed to the analysis and write-up of the report while a student at MSASS.

This study was recently discussed in a Belt Magazine story.

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development is a research center at Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, a graduate school of social work at Case Western Reserve University.