Suicides, divorce, anxiety attacks, depression, and displacement of children from homes and schools are not what we associate with the mortgage foreclosure crisis. But we should.  Instead of following the money, we should pay attention to the human side of the crisis.  

In this third year of the mortgage tsunami, while we debate about who profited and which federal agencies should have better monitoring, we ignore how people now choose between buying medicine for chronic illnesses and mortgage payments, or paying rent after foreclosure, and how communities are dying. 

On the ground, agencies that offer financial literacy workshops for current owners and potential buyers, mortgage loan consultations, legal aid advice for those in foreclosure, and bankruptcy counseling may prevent future catastrophes, but short term, they are ill prepared to respond to the human suffering, and  provide professional mental health counseling or make referrals.

To the rescue is a small group of community based researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center. They are following the people.  Since 2008, University faculty, staff, and community researchers, the UROC Action Planning Team (UROC ART), have looked behind the money to learn how people’s health and wellness are affected.

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