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Essex County seniors struggle to stop foreclosure

Foreclosure is nothing new for Essex County homeowners as New Jersey residents are still battling to bring an end to these problems. Those who are unemployed, debt-burdened, or low-income are in a particularly tough position to combat the housing crisis, and these are the households faced with trying to stop foreclosure. For many of these households, hope lies in the ability to turn their finances around in the future. Yet some homeowners don't have the same options.

Senior homeowners are among those hit hardest by the housing crisis, and they are less likely to be able to escape a poor financial situation. Many of these are retired, disabled, and may be unable to return to work. They rely on retirement benefits and investments to carry them through their older years. When these finances start to run out, and these homeowners get behind on their mortgages, they typically have few options.

It appears that older minorities are those who have been hit the hardest. At the end of 2011, 3.5 percent of older African Americans and nearly four percent of Hispanics were in foreclosure. Across all ethnicities, though, homeowners who are 75 years of age or older struggle the most. Today, one in 30 homeowners in this category is faced with foreclosure.

While it is said the situation might only get worse for these homeowners, there are options available to try to stop foreclosure on their homes. Returning to the workforce, and to a regular income, may be one part of the solution for those who are able and not buried in debt. Other Essex County seniors may be in more difficult positions, and may benefit from considering bankruptcy protection. A reorganization under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code allows individuals to propose a repayment plan that may allow them to regain financial stability and keep their homes.

Source: My Central Jersey, "NJ seniors hit hard by foreclosures," Ken Serrano, July 23, 2012

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