Quiz Camp: Residential Foreclosures in Winter Park

Today in class we discussed the issue of the rising residential foreclosures in Winter Park, FL and tried to come up with reasons behind it, areas that need to be changed, and solutions for the futures.  Our group discussion today resulted in some very interesting discourse and some ideas that I had not thought of before, I felt it was very constructive.

As a group we used Stuart Hall’s communication model as a starting point to look deeper into our research problem, this involved bringing the issue into visibility and allowing many-to-many communication about the issue occur.  Our first day of work was focused mainly on mapping out the general problem.  We came up with: The number of foreclosures in Winter Park, leaving families homeless, disrupts families schools neighborhoods and communities, ruins personal credit and prevents people from buying houses in the future, the real estate market crashes and the prices of houses decrease.

Our second issue involved the stakeholders in the problem.  We felt it was difficult to determine who was the good guy and who was the bad guy in this scenario because it can be seen from multiple perspectives.  However, those involved include: the state, real estate market agents, local businesses, home owners, families, the government, law enforcement etc.  Our third issue covered the structural issues involved which we felt included the need for mortgage policy to be changed to a stricter process on what you need to take out a loan, and to discover why and where foreclosures are happening.

The next topic was about dominant ideology in our problem which I found very interesting.  There is an American Dream ideal where American’s aspire to live a greater life than their parents did or that they may necessarily be able to afford.  In general it is a good outlook to strive to the best of your ability but it is also very important to be conscious of your decisions.  Mortgage companies also got very caught up in making money and were so quick to give out loans and mortgages to people without enough questioning or information.  We live in a very consumer driven society based on credit cards where people are capable of spending money they don’t have with this false sense of security that it will all work out.  There is also an extreme misconception of what it means to own a house, many people don’t own their houses for 20 years, it is important not to forget that until you pay off your mortgage your house belongs to the bank.

We next discussed the underlying assumptions surrounding foreclosures in Winter Park.  From a distance Winter Park comes off as a very ritzy and wealthy area however there are parts of it where this is far from true.  Mortgage companies may have also put too much trust in their clients and assumed they would keep their jobs and have no issue paying off their loans.  Beyond that bankruptcy brings up a number of issues and may prevent the person from bringing back up their credit score which could prevent them from owning or renting a home again.  There is also an assumption that these people or families will find somewhere else to live, but who is to say that they have another place to go or even a car that can get them there?

After doing some research we found that the issue of residential foreclosures is definitely visible.  There are foreclosure signs on houses, there are websites that show houses for sale after foreclosures, and there are even maps of the area that show where houses have gone for foreclosure.  We also see on the news stories about the rise in foreclosures and the issue of homelessness increasing.  However there is also an invisible side to it, it is sometimes hard to know if someone is having credit issues or trouble paying for their house.  It can be easy to mask your financial status and how much you may have actually paid for your house.

In conclusion our group was definitely able to identify the key problems surrounding residential foreclosures in Winter Park and on Thursday we will have hopefully come up with a number of ideas and solutions to help eliminate the problem of foreclosures in our city.

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March 2, 2010. Uncategorized.

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