The melt-down in the sub-prime mortgage market has gotten a lot of ink this month-- but until you look at this map, it's hard to understand the true impact of these kinds of loans on the city. These subprime companies target low-income families with teaser-rates and special promotions, and often get them sign to up for mortgages without even checking to see if they have enough income to make the payments. The Daily News reports:

"Loan companies are going out and bombarding these owners, many of them senior citizens, to convince them to take home equity loans," said Yvonne Reddick, district manager of Community Board 12 in Southeast Queens. "How do you give someone a loan when the monthly payment on that loan is higher than the person's income? It's a disgrace."

"We need to get the attention of the attorney general and DA's office," said City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens). "A lot of these activities are illegal. We have a high rate of senior citizens and immigrants here, and these lenders are preying on the elderly with reverse mortgages that are really subprime loans."

And of course, the defaults are most concentrated in low income, Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, which already face a host of other challenges. This kind of predatory lending just makes things worse for the people who live there.

Related: The New York Times has a similar story about defaults in Newark-- along with an informative map.