Study: Hispanics hit hardest by recession

July 28, 2011 4:38:58 PM PDT
Most Americans are feeling the financial pinch because of the recent recession, but Hispanics have been hit especially hard, according to a new study.

The Pew Research Center has released a report indicating Hispanics have suffered the greatest losss in the recession. Nearly two thirds of Hispanics' median net worth in 2005 came from home equity, the report says. The average home equity for Hispanics fell 51 percent during the period studied for the report, which pointed out that the group tends to live in places that have been hit hardest.

In the meantime, troubled homeowners in the Chicago area are seeking help. The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America ? or NACA - is offering solutions to homeowners with unaffordable mortgages at a five-day workshop at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The homeowners modification workshop goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Monday, August 1.

NACA says its foreclosure prevent service gets more than half of its attendees lower mortgage payments the same day.

According to the Pew report, the wealth of Hispanics collapsed with the housing market. The report also implies that Hispanics have been taken advantage of by lenders.

"Latinos' dreams of achieving and aspiring and attaining middle class is all the more challenging," said Sylvia Puente , Latino Policy Forum.

Amelia Sandoval came to the workshop in need of a loan modification in order to save the home she has lived in for years .

"If they help me, it's going to be great. I feel very happy if they can do it today," she told ABC7.

Veronica Diaz has lived in her Chicago single family home for 15 years and has a variable-rate mortgage with payments each month of over $5,000. NACA was able to lower her monthly payment to about $3,000.

"I am very happy for that change," Diaz said.

NACA works with lenders and investors from across the country to reduce the interest rate to as low as 2 percent and, if necessary, to reduce the principal for the life of the loan. Attendees are able to meet with lenders face to face.

Everything is free. People have everything to gain and nothing to lose," Marks said.

Marks stresses that everyone has been hit hard by the financial crisis. The American dream of owning your own home has become a disaster for many.

"The biggest thing is the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the loss of equity in home values," said Puente.

Chicagoan Loraine Stevenson, who has lived in her home for 15 years, was able to lower her mortgage payment by $600 monthly.

Homeownership is one of Americans' principal vehicles for accumulating wealth, particularly in minority communities.

To attend the NACA workshop, homeowners must bring several items including verification of income, their 2010 tax return, mortgage statement, property tax statement and a photo ID.

NACA Save-The-Dream Event
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
5555 N. River Road
Chicago, IL 60018

Thursday, July 28 - Monday, August 1
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(888) 499-6222

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