This photo would have been the perfect image for yesterday's rant, but I only just took it today. The setting is the corner of Ralph and Fulton in Bed-Stuy, where this joyful little reminder of one of the city's highest foreclosure rates greets you as you emerge from the IND station. Foreclosures were down in the 4th quarter of 2008, due largely to the 90-day moratorium, but Bed-Stuy remains worried: community groups, including the foreclosure-specific Know the Facts Bed-Stuy, are making foreclosure prevention a priority. The numbers are grim--5.2% of homes in Bed-Stuy have begun foreclosure proceedings, according to Know the Facts' December 2008 press release. If that number doesn't hit home, consider it this way: at least 1 in 20 homes is in the midst of foreclosure proceedings, or about one home per block. Put another way, 20% of Bed-Stuy homes are owner-occupied, comprising over 11,000 households, and of those, 650 are in foreclosure proceedings (this data compiled from the NYT). So it's not a stretch to suggest that most Bed-Stuy residents probably know someone dealing with foreclosure.
To reiterate yesterday's point: if Manhattanites are noticing insecurity creeping into their lives, remember that across the East River 164,000+ folks in Bed-Stuy alone are getting up every morning to signs like these, with full knowledge that people all around them are losing their homes.