School Children Affected by Lender and Tax Foreclosures

by on Foreclosure Crisis

An estimated 2 million school children across the nation have been and will be adversely affected by foreclosure since 2007, according to nonpartisan group First Focus. Not only families that experienced lender foreclosures are affected, but also families that went through tax foreclosures.

According to Heather Sharp, principal of Fairview Elementary School in Modesto, California, her school has become the most affected among the schools in the Modesto School System. Home prices in the area have fallen by 65 percent compared to price levels in December 2005. She said about 50 students have left since the last months of 2008 and about the same number of students coming in as new students. Kenia, a 9-year-old girl whose family has just moved to the community, said she is experiencing difficulties in adjusting. Kenia’s classmate Bethany meanwhile said her closest friend has left without telling her anything.

Sharp said she has even assigned a community aide to go from house to house to look for children who have stopped going to school. She said the houses seen were all closed with yards dry and looking desolate. Among these desolate houses could be units that have been abandoned due to tax foreclosures.

From 2007 to January 2009, California has the highest number of foreclosures among all U.S. states. Many of these lender foreclosures occurred in Stanislaus County, where Modesto is located. It could also be that there are lots of tax foreclosures in Stanislaus, as communities most hard-hit by lender foreclosures are also hit by tax foreclosures.

A similar study conducted by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children found an increasing number of homeless school children. Between the years 2006 to 2008, there were over 450 school districts reporting an increase in number of homeless school children by 25 percent. It could be said that included in this statistics are cases of children whose families affected by tax foreclosures.

Pat Popp, former president of the homeless children association, said stressful occurrences, such as lender and tax foreclosures and frequent moving, create anxiety in children and cause a decline in children’s learning. This is supported by First Focus’s report which said that stresses in children and distractions slow down reading proficiency and reduce students’ chances of finishing high school.