'It's like modern day slavery:' The alarming Ferguson statistic - KMOV.com

'It's like modern day slavery:' The alarming Ferguson statistic plaguing many

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The Ferguson police shooting that killed Michael Brown has put the north St. Louis County town under a microscope.

The community faces enormous challenges including a housing crisis that has homeowners struggling to hang onto their homes.

Six years since the height of the housing crisis, much of the country has recovered. But Ferguson has not. 
 
In the neighborhoods near Brown's memorial, boarded up houses dot the streets.   
 
Fifty percent of homeowners are underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgages than the homes are worth. The national average is 17 percent.
 
Melody Wade works full time but is still three months behind on her mortgage.
 
“It's like modern day slavery,” Wade said Tuesday. “Like you're working for free. No matter what you do you're never, ever going to get out of this."
 
“When people have bad housing situations, sometimes it leads to homelessness, crime, it leads to domestic abuse,” said Malik Ahmed, the CEO of Better Family Life, an organization that offers help to homeowners. “It leads to them not being part of the society in which they live."
 
Ahmed said he wants to revitalize the depressed communities around north St. Louis and says housing is the first step. 
 

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