Whenever stories about people losing their homes in a mortgage foreclosure come along, some of the reaction is fairly predictable. They knew what they were getting into. It’s their responsibility. They shouldn’t have bitten off more than they could chew.
All of which is usually true. It’s also true that it’s incredibly sad and — if you have a pulse — one’s heart aches for the misfortune of others.
The Brainerd Dispatch newspaper (registration required) profiled one such family today.
“We had no heat from mid-August to October,” said the mother. “When we filed for bankruptcy they turned our heat back on. There were mornings in October when we had no gas or hot water and we woke up in a cold house. I felt so terrible that my kids had to go through that.”
The mother said the children have been hanging in there, but they had a hard time when she and her husband separated. She said the children don’t know about the possibility of losing their home.
Sen. Norm Coleman’s forum in St. Cloud late last week revealed some staggering numbers. Eighty-thousand families are behind on their mortgages right now. And the highest number of foreclosures isn’t in the Twin Cities, but in Wright, Stearns and Sherburne counties.
One of Coleman’s solutions is to allow families to dip into retirement savings accounts without incurring a penalty. That may provide some short-term help to keep one’s home, but it does lead one to wonder what the long-term effect will be.