Foreclosure Counseling with Latino Households: Policy Assumptions in a Changing Demographic Landscape
Rodriguez, Maria Ylcelis
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Social work practice and scholarship was historically rooted in the development and analysis of policy (Rodriguez, Ostrow, & Kemp, 2016). Yet, little work has extended our knowledge base on the factors surrounding the development of housing policy and its impact on the populations we serve. The dearth of housing policy research within social welfare is particularly troubling in light of the recent foreclosure crisis (2007-2012). Notably, low-income and Latino households were disproportionality represented in the foreclosure crisis (Hall, Crowder, & Spring, 2015; Rugh, 2014), suggesting that foreclosure mitigation policies should have been crafted with these groups in mind. This dissertation aims to investigate how these households fared in the development of foreclosure mitigation policies, in order to understand how responsive policy makers can be to the context of social problems. Using a three-paper format, this dissertation investigates the development, implementation, and impact of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program. The dissertation uses a policy process centered conceptual framework to explain how certain groups were left out of NFMC’s purview. Each paper addresses one of the three levels of social work practice: micro, mezzo, and macro. Results indicate that, beyond being adversely impacted by the foreclosure crisis, communities of color have reaped little benefit from foreclosure mitigation policy as a result of the social constructions they are assigned during the policy making process. Latino households in particular, while experiencing a rising contender status in the federal housing policy arena, are nonetheless not benefiting from foreclosure mitigation policy in ways commiserate with the impact of the crisis on this demographic group. Recalibrating the social work research agenda toward policy study is the most direct way to address the social and economic conditions that prevent the most vulnerable from claiming and exercising full citizenship in the United States today.
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