Homelessness, Bank Owned Homes Foreclosure Increase

by Donald Hanz on States

The 36 percent increase in bank owned homes foreclosure filings in Florida in the first quarter of this year compared with figures for the same period last year ranked the state number 4 in terms of foreclosure rate.

About 119,220 homeowners received foreclosure filings in the state in the first three months of this year, reflecting a 12 percent decline from the last quarter of 2008 but a 36 percent rise compared with 2008’s first quarter figures.

And as foreclosure properties continue to flood the housing market in Florida, more and more people are finding themselves without any roof on their heads. In Pinellas County alone, an alarming 20 percent rise in homelessness was reported, compared with figures the previous year.

A survey conducted by the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless Inc. showed that there were 6,235 people who were without homes last year, a dramatic increase from the 5,195 total homeless population in 2007.

Another survey result that caused an alarm to the coalition is the 108 percent rise in the number of sheltered and unsheltered children below the age of 18. Furthermore, the number of unsheltered homeless families and individuals rose by 82.7 percent in 2008.

St. Petersburg accounted for 45.8 percent increase in homeless population while Clearwater reported a 10.3 percent rise in the number of people who do not own homes.

Additionally, a 5.5 percent rise in homelessness was also noted at the Pinellas Park-Lealman area, 5.4 percent in Largo and over 1 percent increase in both Treasure Island and St. Peter Beach.

The coalition survey identified some mitigating circumstances that may cause families or individuals to lose their homes. About 86.3 percent of homeless people loss their income or jobs. Additionally, 22.6 percent lost their homes because of drug and alcohol use, 18.6 because of foreclosure or eviction, 21.8 percent because of family problems and 30 percent due to imprisonment, domestic violence and emotional problems.

Coalition president Lisa Jackson said that the poor economy is a major factor driving the number of homeless people to an unprecedented rate. The coalition said that over 31 percent of homeless people have been staying on the streets for almost a year, compared with 10.7 percent in 2007.

Experts believed that if the unemployment rate will not improve, bank owned homes foreclosure will continue to rise and so is the number of homeless population in Florida.