The real estate market has shown some signs of recovery from the crisis of a few years ago. But millions of people remain underwater on their mortgages. And many people struggle to make their payments, especially if they have experienced job loss.

To be sure, the surge in foreclosures that came in the wake of the Great Recession has subsided somewhat. But in the Milwaukee area and across the nation, there are still many people who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure.

In this post, we will take note of Milwaukee’s efforts to address the issue of tax foreclosures. And we will put the challenges of foreclosure in the context of the type of debt relief that a bankruptcy filing can provide.

In his recent State of the City address, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett specifically addressed the problem that frequent foreclosures pose for neighborhood stability. Tax foreclosures, in particular, have become a big challenge for the city.

Indeed, Milwaukee has nearly 1,300 properties that it has acquired because the owners were unable to pay taxes. The city has been discussing the possibility of enlisting a private-equity firm to invest in these properties.

For individual homeowners, however, the foreclosure threat is much more immediate than a foreclosure by the city for failure to pay taxes. The threat that weighs on many homeowners who struggle to make their mortgage payments is losing their house to a lender or loan-serving company due to a delinquency.

Homeowners who face a mortgage delinquency should be aware that bankruptcy can be a sensible choice for responding to the threat of losing your home to foreclosure. In particular, the automatic stay on debt collection that comes with a bankruptcy filing can be very useful in developing a plan for moving forward.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Barrett sounds upbeat tone on Milwaukee’s future in annual speech,” Don Walker, Feb. 24, 2014