Published November 1, 2009 | November 2009 issue
A recent report from the Urban Institute provides a summary of existing research on the social effects of home mortgage foreclosures. The Impacts of Foreclosures on Families and Communities, which was prepared on behalf of the Open Society Institute, collects and condenses the findings of surveys and studies that examine how foreclosures affect the stability and well-being of families, neighborhoods, and municipalities. The report identifies various categories of effects, such as Displacement and Housing Instability; Personal and Family Stress, Disrupted Relationships, and Ill Health; Declining Property Values and Physical Deterioration; and Crime, Social Disorder, and Population Turnover. Under each category, the authors list relevant research findings or, where applicable, explain why credible findings are not yet available. In the closing sections of the report, the authors offer a strategic framework for responding to foreclosures and identify a list of foreclosure effects that merit further research.