I'm one of those people who got one of those infamous loans for low income people.
Our youngest son is severely retarded/autistic -- his temporal lobes didn't form properly at birth so he is terribly handicapped. For quite a few years he was in an institution because we couldn't handle him at home but the ACLU brought a lawsuit that closed the institution and put him out into the community. He can't look after himself so he has five staff members who look after him 24-7. It is crucial to his well-being that he be in a highly structured environment.
For many years we tried roommates -- trying to cut costs -- but that didn't work out. During those years he rented homes but every other year or so he wound up having to move: Owners wanted more rent, or wanted to sell the house, . . . lots of reasons. So we decided to buy a small house for him so he wouldn't have to move again.
Thanks to a program through the US Dept. of Agriculture we found a small house on a large lot in the country. He moved in and has lived there -- happily ever after -- for the past three years. He has never missed a payment on his loan. He never will because we planned this carefully in his budget.
The reason I'm writing this is that this is an example of the good that kind of lending has done. Not ALL mortgage holders default on loans to low-income individuals. Those loans have done a lot of good for a lot of people who otherwise would not have had their own home.
One statistic says that only 1% of the nation's homeowners are in default. That's not a huge amount -- if they were irresponsible and tried to have homes that were too expensive they should lose them.
Of course I also believe that the loan officers AND the real estate agents who promoted those loans should be held responsible as well.
But frankly, I suspect that the Great and Powerful Media (and Stupid Congress) have misled us again. They've been crying wolf and hollering that the sky is falling because it sells TV time and newspapers.
The sad thing about it is that other low-income folks who would be responsible home owners probably won't have a chance, thanks to all this hysteria. That's a terrible shame.