Rising Bank Foreclosure Listings, Homelessness in Michigan

by on Foreclosure Listings

Many families in West Michigan who have lost their houses to bank foreclosure listings are driving the number of homelessness in the area. So far, 13,322 people are without homes in West Michigan.

Going around the Heartside District in Grand Rapids at night, one could see homeless people wander at highway underpasses or missions, roaming the streets and foraging for free meals. Some of them are mentally ill, derelict and drug addled. But a closer inspection revealed that many of them are families who have been evicted and lost their homes to bank foreclosure listings.

Many of them have tried to differentiate themselves from other homeless people by creating a shantytown in an unused factory. According to industry experts, almost 50 percent of these people seeking help are homeless for the first time. And many of them have jobs, some with two or three.

Industry experts described these homeless people as similar to a deer caught unaware in headlights. They said that many of these people are victims of mitigating circumstances and do not know how to deal with their current predicament.

In West Michigan’s five counties, the number of homeless people hit 13,332 last year. According to industry experts, the numbers are equivalent to the whole city of Grandville. Data showed that 50 percent of people in Kent County experienced homelessness while Kalamazoo County has a third of its population without homes. The rest of the homeless lives in the counties of Allegen, Muskegon and Ottawa.

And the number of homeless people in Michigan is increasing. The total number of homeless people in 2008 was up 11 percent compared with the previous year. This includes a 50 percent increase in the counties along the Lakeshore.

According to the Michigan State Homeless Management Information System, the data does not include thousands of homeless who were not identified annually because they opted not to seek help, and instead chose to move in with relatives or friends.

Industry experts believed that the total number of homeless people will continue to increase, with the possibility of bottoming out after 2010. Last year, Michigan ranked fifth nationwide in homelessness rates, with 86,000 people without homes.

Industry experts are expecting that the expiring unemployment benefits would bring in new a wave of homeless people who have lost their homes to bank foreclosure listings.