Juxtaposing Dreams and Loss: The Lived Experience of Homeownership and Foreclosure

Keywords: Homeownership, foreclosure, interpretative phenomenological analysis, American dream, disenfranchised grief, micro-macro bridge


Symbolically and historically, the attributes associated with homeownership are positive; however, in light of the 2006 housing crash and subsequent 2008 financial crisis, scholars and laypeople continue to reassess the sacred position homeownership holds in U.S. culture and the market economy. Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis, this study explored the meanings that five former homeowners associate with the lived experience of foreclosure. The findings reveal a juxtaposition that intersects the hopes and dreams of homeownership with the grief and loss of foreclosure. This polarizing experience uncovers the need for innovative policy and practice interventions. A discussion of implications for social work policy and practice include strengthening the bridge of micro- and macro-level interventions and addressing hopes, dreams, disenfranchised grief, and loss in the context of homeownership and foreclosure. 

Author Biographies

Amy B. Murphy-Nugen, Western Carolina University
Department of Social Work Assistant Professor Ph.D., MSW
Donna Hensley Beck, Western Carolina University
Department of Social Work Assistant Professor DSW, MSW, LCSW