US foreclosures under scrutiny
The number of homes being repossessed in the United States fell nationwide this past month, and could fall even further.
But hundreds of thousands of Americans are on the brink of losing their homes, amid accusations that banks have been wrongly handling foreclosures.
The foreclosure crisis began with the recession of 2008, when the US housing bubble burst. Lenders were faced with millions of defaults at once, and lacked the manpower to process all the paperwork.
This contributed to what has become known as "robo-signing", bank staff signing off on repossessions, without properly checking all the documents. Now there is an ongoing legal investigation into foreclosure practices in all fifty states.
And several major financial institutions have temporarily halted thousands of foreclosure proceedings while this is going on.
Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler traveled to the frontlines of the foreclosure crisis, to the city of Portland, Maine, where the allegations first emerged.
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As of May 2010, the record number of Americans receiving foodstamps has risen to 40.8 Million while Gov. leaders plan to cut 6.7 Billion dollars from the program.