With foreclosures at record highs, nearly everyone lives in a neighborhood where the mortgage crisis has influenced property values. While the U.S. government seeks foreclosure solutions at the federal level, here are five ways you can work at the grassroots level to help turn the foreclosure crisis around in your neighborhood.
1. Volunteer to teach financial literacy or budgeting classes. To teach people in your community to better manage their finances, get training from an organization like Money Management International. After six hours of MMI training, you can teach classes on money and credit when you have time available. Or consider local groups, such as Portland, Maine’s, Institute for Financial Literacy.
2. Contribute to an organization fighting foreclosures. Your donation to such groups as the National Community Reinvestment Coalition or to United Way’s financial stability program helps fund financial counseling and other programs for borrowers facing foreclosure.
3. Volunteer to help restore distressed and foreclosed properties. Local Habitat for Humanity groups help distressed owners prepare properties for sale—thus avoiding foreclosure—and turn foreclosed homes into affordable housing. Help a few hours a week or periodically for particular projects.
4. Make Congress accountable. Take a few minutes to write and send an email to your legislator about the foreclosure crisis. Members of Congress can have a huge impact on the foreclosure crisis by passing meaningful legislation to aid struggling homeowners and their communities. Legislators really do listen to voters—especially when a large number write in support of the same position.
5. Help the unemployed. Unemployment and underemployment are big contributors to the foreclosure crisis. Get at the root cause of the foreclosure crisis by volunteering at an organization that helps people find jobs or save money on expenses.
Those organizations might include local thrift shops, food banks, home improvement recycling centers, or job clubs. Goodwill Industries International volunteers help run job placement and training programs. The Corporation for National Service can help you find local nonprofits in need of volunteers for other tasks.