The Ledger

Making sense of money, 2010

Foreclosures Causing Families to Split

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Most of us are aware of how the current economy has the power to destroy businesses and affect the job market, but not too many of us realize how it can also destroy families.

Wendy Zinzalet, 44, is taking a direct hit from the struggling economy.

“If I lose the house, the girls will have to live with their fathers for awhile until I have enough money for another place,” she said. Zinzalet has been working at Michael Francis Salon and Day Spa in Middletown, CT for over 15 years. As a result of the suffering economy, the salon hasn’t been doing as well as it could be. “I could just barely afford to pay for everything on a good week,” she said, “but if I don’t have enough clients one week it gets really tough.”

Zinzalet has been living at her house on Durwin Street in Middletown since 2006. She lives with her two daughters, 21 and 17, and her one-year-old grandson. If she loses the house, the three girls will all be living in seperate houses as her daughters will go with their fathers and she will either stay with her sister or a close friend.

So why is it so difficult for a single mother to find the help she needs to keep her family together?

“After the divorce I couldn’t afford it on my own,” she said. “The market fell out from under us so it wasn’t worth what we payed for it.”

In August 2009, Zinzalet was granted a loan from Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker. “I went through the modifications, I was approved, and I made the trial payments,” she said. But shortly after, the company was shut down for fraud and she was again forced to find help from another company. She chose to go with Ocwen, which she now considers a huge mistake.

“I have actually been told that Ocwen was the worst by other companies,” she said. “Ocwen kept telling me denied, denied, denied. They kept making my reapply for the same thing, and it would get denied again. And then they would tell me to apply again!”

Also in 2009, President Obama started a Home Affordable Modification Program, which was set up to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure stay in their homes.

“HAMP was a joke too,” Zinzalet said. “Out of the millions of people who applied, only a few percent got approved.”

Zinzalet is not the only one in CT who is at risk of foreclosure. Danae Stoane, of Sterling Realtors, says that she often works with people who are being forced out of their homes.

“Divorce is one of the most common issues,” Stoane said. “People find it impossible to afford a house on their own, especially when they have children. It is always hard to see a family being forced to move after they’ve lived in the same house forever.”

Even when there are not children involved, many people can’t afford to live on their own.

“There was one older woman who lived in the same house practically since the day she married her husband,” Stoane said. “Her husband died a few years ago, and she’s been trying to hold onto the house, but she just can’t afford it. And there was another guy who had to pay for speech therapy for his son, which is really expensive, so they had to move so they could afford it.”

However, Stoane does not believe that the poor economy is always to blame.

“Some people just can’t afford it in the first place,” she said. “But I do love when there are happy endings for people. When someone loses a job but then gets another job and is able to keep their house. I wish there were more of those.”

Don’t we all?

Connecticut is not the only state that is suffering either. In New Hampshire, there were 377 foreclosures in June 2010. The article points out that experts say the high number of foreclosures is a direct result of the poor economy and homeowners not being able to make payments because of job loss and hours cut. (Click here to view the full article and to watch video).

So who do we blame for forcing hard-working people out of their homes? Most people choose to look at banks as the monsters of foreclosure, but Terry Savage places blame elsewhere in her article “Congress Can Take the Blame for Foreclosures.”

“It’s time for leaders in Washington to stop blaming lenders, borrowers and everyone but themselves. We need a sensible system that aims to keep people in their homes until the economy turns around,” Savage said.

As for Zinzalet, regardless of who might be to blame, she struggles to keep her home and her family together in this rough economy.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve tried everything,” she said. “More than once. And even when I have gotten approved for something in the past, it never works out in the end. I just think its sad that I won’t be able to afford living with my daughters even when I’ve been working full-time for like 20 years. If they could only see what they’re doing to my family…”

I’m not sure who “they” are, but I agree that they need to do something to help innocent people keep their homes, and their families, even with the shaky economy.

Jen Fazzino

Final Paper

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Written by ccsu236

December 11, 2010 at 1:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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