205,990 American families received default notices on their mortgages in May — a 9% increase from April. This  number represents 1 in 639 American homes. 54,844 American homes were foreclosed last month. Approximately one-fifth of the families who received default notices in May these families will end up losing their homes to foreclosure.

These foreclosures are largely the result of more than five million Americans being out of work for longer than six months. This long-term unemployment number is far more critical to the foreclosure rate than the overall unemployment rate of 8.2%. Most of these six million Americans have exhausted their savings and cannot pay the mortgages they signed during the good economic times of the Bush administration.

And yet, few of these people will become homeless — because of the nature of the American people. These homeless families will be taken in by their family and friends and given refuge while they try to get back up on their feet. Real homelessness only occurs when the last friend or family member gives up on a person.

No one knows how many Americans are now homeless. Estimates range from 600,000 to over 2.5 million and rising. Forty percent of the homeless are families with children.

Homeless occurs in a healthy economy for many reasons. Usually these are related to emotional problems and are often related to substance abuse. When a person becomes too dysfunctional to care for themself, and no friend or family member believes in them enough to come to their aid, that person will often become homeless.

We are not, however, living in a healthy economy. We are suffering under unemployment levels like we have not seen since Jimmy Carter wrecked the economy with stagflation in the 1970’s. Today, many citizens who would be able to provide for themselves and their families under normal circumstances now find themselves out of jobs and short on options.

If you know someone in this situation, please consider stepping up to the challenge of giving them a chance to get back on their feet. Almost all of us have had friends crash before and often all those people need is someone to believe in them.  Be that person and it can bring you the best feeling in the world.