What are the hidden costs of the housing crisis?

Christina Lewellen
January 21, 2009

I think the ripple effects of the current housing crisis are too numerous and vast to quantify at the moment. I’m sure we’ll be able to wrap our brains around it years from now, but as we sit in the eye of the storm, it’s tough to keep track of all the possible avenues of fallout from the current financial and housing predicament.

How long will it take for us to fully recognize the “hidden” costs of the economic crisis?
One year
Two to five years
Five years or more
Perhaps never

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Like take this story, for example. Who would have thought of this? Animal shelters are being taxed with a spike in the level of abandoned pets. As people go into foreclosure on their homes, presumably relocating to less pet-friendly housing scenarios such as apartment complexes, they’re dropping Fido off at local shelters. They can no longer take care of their pets, so they’re put in a position to give them up.

And how about this one: New York City is stepping in to maintain foreclosed homes in an effort to prevent a reversal of its efforts to fend off blight and quality of life. The City is going to refurbish these homes because they failed to move at auction.

If you’ve come across “ripple effect” stories stemming from the financial and housing crisis, please email them to me. Sometimes more shocking than big bailout figures and slumping new home starts is the sidebar stories. Please take a moment to vote in my poll this week—do you think we’ll ever truly understand the “hidden” costs of our current economic recession? Send me a line to share your thoughts.


Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.


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