The housing crisis has cut deep through our community. Its impact has been felt by nearly everyone and it's not over yet.
Most South Florida homes have lost 50 percent or more of their value, putting hundreds of thousands underwater. Many foreclosures are still working their way through the system, backlogged by robo-signing cases. In some cases, people are choosing to walk away.
"The biggest issue right now is so many Americans think it is okay to walk away from their obligations", says real estate attorney Shari Olefson, author of Foreclosure Nation-Mortgaging the American Dream. "No solution is going to work. There is nothing government can do and there is nothing banks can do as long as homeowners think they can live in their homes for four to five years and not pay their mortgages."
With so many challenges remaining to solve, NewsChannel 5 is beginning an in-depth, year-long commitment to the housing crisis as our first Impact 5 project.
"We are not going to solve the housing crisis for this community, but we can help people get through the agony and pain and maybe try to help in some modest way to restore the American dream," said WPTV General Manager Steve Wasserman.
The project will involve news stories, phone banks and community forums -- all designed to look for solutions and help the community move forward.
Getting lenders to move and help people is one of the biggest challenges, according to foreclosure Attorney Paul Krasker.
"Unless the government and banks get together and come up with alternative solutions you are talking about the same crisis we have seen the last year starting all over again,' Krasker said.
We're putting together a list of resources for you to use if you are dealing with the housing crisis in your life. We're also looking to you for stories, ideas, and solutions. Let us know what you think.
Tell us your stories about how the housing crisis has impacted your home, your community or your job. Please send us your thoughts and suggestions using the form on this page: http://bit.ly/y9aXqG