Charleston affordable housingIt’s obvious that when a home goes into foreclosure, the homeowner will experience emotional stress on top of financial strain. But what impact does this stress have on the health of a homeowner? Two economists conducted a study last year to find out and discovered there’s a direct correlation between foreclosure rates and the health of residents.

In their study, Janet Currie of Princeton University and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University centered on some of the hardest-hit areas of the U.S.: Arizona, California, Florida and New Jersey. The results, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, revealed that an increase of 100 foreclosures corresponded to a 7.2% increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hypertension, and an 8.1% increase in diabetes, among people aged 20-49.

The study also revealed that for each increase in 100 foreclosures, there was a 12% increase in visits related to anxiety in adults aged 20-49, as well as 39% more suicide attempts.

The bottom line is that financial duress, among other issues, could lead to health problems, which can only exacerbate financial problems. For many, it’s a vicious cycle.

Prior to Currie and Tekin’s study, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics issued a brief on the impact foreclosures have on health. Similarly, it found that foreclosure is associated with high rates of major depression, hypertension and heart disease.

RealtyTrac’s January 2012 statistics show 1,343,002 homes were in foreclosure nationwide, which in the Palmetto State translated to 1 in every 651 homes.

SC Community Loan Fund is dedicated to providing affordable options for owning a home, because we all benefit from creating safe, decent places to live. From decreased traffic congestion to lower levels of crime, to open green spaces, to greater quality of life, communities thrive when housing is affordable.

SC Community Loan Fund recognizes the impact foreclosures have on homeowners and the local community, and has worked diligently to eradicate the issue on a local level. In 2009, CLF received $7.4 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding to purchase and rehabilitate 63 foreclosed properties. CLF will continue to transform abandoned, dilapidated housing units into rental and homeownership opportunities for families at or below 120% AMI through financing the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.

To learn more about the services CLF offers, including a homebuyer assistance plan, please visit sccommunityloanfund.org.