For many Queens residents, the sight of foreclosure signs has become the norm as neighborhoods throughout the borough continue to struggle in an already ailing economy. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Still in shock, Dawnell Fraser can't take her eyes off a recent notice -- her dream home of four and a half years is in foreclosure.
"It really hurts. After years of working and you save trying to make a life for yourself and trying to own your own home then to be thrown out in the streets," said Fraser.
And she means that literally. Fraser plans to move to a shelter with her son if she can't work out a deal with her lender. Fraser fell behind on her mortgage after refinancing two years ago.
"Because the interest rate was so high everything was just topsy turvy," said Fraser.
Fraser's story is not uncommon in Southeast Queens, where once stable, well-kept neighborhoods are now home to padlocked doors, boarded up windows and broken dreams. In Jamaica, the area surrounding 118th Avenue is considered the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis.
"It's like every one or two or every other two houses or three houses there's a foreclosure," said one Jamaica resident.
For the homeowners left standing, cutting their losses and moving on is not an option.
"I have a value of $250,000 if I sold the house like two years ago. Now if I sell my house I'm going to lose money," said Queens homeowner Fernando Espinal.
According to Realtytrac.com, Queens has the highest foreclosure rate in the city with 819 foreclosure notices filed just last month.
"There are hundreds, hundreds of families who lose their homes every single week out in Queens. They have these foreclosure auctions and we at ACORN have been going there interrupting these auctions and standing up and cause disruptions to keep them from selling off these homes," said New York ACORN President Pat Boone.
The advocacy group ACORN also has been providing counseling and resources to homeowners like Fraser fighting to stay in their homes. The group is trying to negotiate with Fraser's lender.
"I just trust that somebody will hear our cry," said Fraser.