Foreclosures hit Latino families hard

Latino families are draining their savings and taking second jobs yet losing an average of $89,000 due to foreclosure and doubling up with friends or relatives, resulting in overcrowding and stress.

The National Council of La Raza and the Center for Community Capital at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill released a report Feb. 16 on the human cost of foreclosure. Researchers said families that lost a home remain hopeful they would attain the American dream of home ownership once again.

"We were struck by their optimism and resilience," said Janis Bowdler of La Raza's Wealth-Building Policy Project.

The findings were based on interviews with 25 Latino families in five regions including California's Central Valley. Researchers also cited national statistics indicating 60 percent of Latinos have observed foreclosures in their neighborhood and cash buyers accounted for 25 percent of second-quarter sales last year, turning owner-occupied homes into investment properties.