The bleeding hasn’t stopped: Ohio’s lingering foreclosure crisis
Posted December 08, 2017 in Press Releases
Ohio’s foreclosure filings dropped steeply since their peak during the Great Recession, but remain almost 2.5 times above the pre-housing crisis levels of the 1990s, according to new analysis by Policy Matters Ohio.
In 2016, Ohio had 38,963 new foreclosure filings — about one filing for every 132.5 housing units or 3.35 foreclosures per 1,000 people. After falling by more than half since the worst of the crisis, the decline in filings is tapering off, with just a 3.75 percent drop last year.
Sixty percent of Ohio’s 2016 foreclosure filings came from the 10 largest counties. In a majority of big counties, foreclosure filings went up, including 5 percent in Franklin County, 8 percent in Stark County, 9 percent in Lucas County and 10 percent in Mahoning County. In other large counties, foreclosures fell, including Summit County, with a 22 percent drop and Cuyahoga County with a 5 percent decline. Mahoning County had the state’s highest foreclosure density, up from No. 7 in 2015. Smaller, rural counties also struggle with foreclosures, according to the report. Richland, Coshocton, Jackson and Ashtabula Counties slightly trail Mahoning County for highest foreclosure rates per capita.
“Unscrupulous lenders targeted vulnerable communities, and now these communities are having a harder time climbing out of the foreclosure crisis,” said report author and Policy Matters intern Hannah Lebovits.
Through smart federal, state and local policies, Ohio can stabilize communities and stem foreclosures, Lebovits said. Members of Congress should increase funding for foreclosure prevention and, housing stability programs that help many families stay in their homes. They and the White House should also end the attack on the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has enacted several initiatives to defend borrowers. In the 2018-2019 budget, state lawmakers failed to fund the Ohio Housing Trust Fund at needed levels. Ohio’s local government funding has dropped by more than $1 billion a year since 2010, harming communities’ ability to address foreclosures. And Legal Aid services that help many families stay in their homes still are recovering from earlier funding reductions. All of these programs should be more robustly funded to address Ohio’s persisting need.
“Ohio’s foreclosure crisis has dragged on for close to two decades,” Lebovits said. “We’re no longer hemorrhaging, but the bleeding hasn’t stopped, and it won’t until state and federal lawmakers make stabilizing communities a priority.”