Skip to main content

Publication Date

February 2010


David Andrew Smith, Janis L. Bowdler, Roberto G. Quercia


Atlantic Philanthropies

A joint report of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and UNC Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill highlights the findings from 25 interviews conducted with Latino families who had recently experienced a foreclosure.

Interviewers asked in-depth questions on a variety of issues related to the overall well-being of the family with a special emphasis on the status of their children. Interviews were conducted in July and August 2009 in five regions: southeastern Texas, southeastern Michigan, the west coast of Florida, 0northwestern Georgia, and the Central Valley of California.

Among the foreclosure impacts researchers uncovered:

  • Spousal relationships frequently suffered.
  • Parents reported troubling changes in their relationships with their children and the children’s relationships with each other.
  • The foreclosure had a ripple effect on relationships in extended family and social networks.
  • Public benefits became a lifeline for many, while those without often skimped on needed medical care to save money.
  • Children’s academic performance and behavior at school were impactedsignificantly.
  • Most families experienced a “pile on” effect, where multiple triggers contributed to their
    eventual foreclosure.
  • Loss of income was most often cited as the major reason for the loss of the home. However, in most cases, families were coping with some other burden that drained resources, such as a health
    emergency or resetting mortgage payment, making the loss of income the final straw.
  • None of the families interviewed reported receiving significant assistance to avoid foreclosure from their financial institution.
  • Family finances were devastated, with the families reporting an average loss of $89,155 due to the foreclosure, leaving them without a safety net to cope with financial emergencies.
  • Families made changes in their long-term financial plans, including plans to help their children with expenses, such as education.
  • The majority of participants still believe that they can achieve the American Dream.



Topics(s): Default, Bankruptcy, & Foreclosure, Mortgage Finance