Foreclosure can make you sick

Going through a home foreclosure and its aftermath can be hazardous to your health, a California advocacy group for low-income residents said Thursday.

Causa Justa/Just Cause, an Oakland-based nonprofit, and the Alameda County Public Health Department surveyed nearly 400 Oakland residents last summer and found that people experiencing foreclosure reported higher incidence of physical and mental health problems than residents living in stable situations.

The issues triggered by foreclosure also impact tenants who live in buildings they do not own, as owners neglect the property and unhealthy conditions develop and persist.

Among the findings:

• 43 percent of tenants living in current or recently foreclosed buildings are worried about being evicted or forced to move out, in spite of the JustCause for Eviction ordinance in Oakland.

• 31 percent of tenants in foreclosed buildings report they are now living in unhealthy places where there are substandard conditions like mold, rodents, and cockroaches.

• Those recently experiencing foreclosure are at 2 times greater risk of living in more crowded living situations with five or more people. Residents experiencing foreclosure and related problems of housing instability are significantly more likely to report that their physical health has become worse over the past 2 years.

Other findings from the survey:

• More than 1 in 5 residents is unemployed, and problems of underemployment are widely evident. More than 1 in 4 full-time workers and 2 in 3 part-time workers are looking for more or better work.

• The rate of foreclosure is over 2 times higher among the unemployed compared to those working full-time or part-time.

• Of those who are working, the rate of foreclosure is nearly 3 times higher among the underemployed (as measured by those who areworking and yet seeking additional work).

To see the full report, go here.

NOTE: The survey was funded by the California Endowment, which was also the initial funder of

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