SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Elvis Guzman opened the letter, saw it was in English and took it to his lawyer for translation.
The 59-year-old who sells recycled metal for a living figured it was another letter from the bank warning his family that they were behind on their mortgage payments. But the news from the attorney shocked him.
"He told me I was losing my home. When he told me that, I burst into tears," Guzman recalled. "You have no idea the depression I'm going through. I am going to fight tooth and nail for this house."
An average of 14 families lose homes every day to foreclosure in Puerto Rico, more than double the rate a decade ago as the island faces a real-estate crash worse than the one that sparked the Great Recession on the U.S. mainland. Families across Puerto Rico are moving in with relatives, becoming homeless or simply fleeing to the U.S. mainland with destroyed credit records as the island's government struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt and help the economy emerge from a decade-long recession.
"It's the crisis no one is talking about," said Ricardo Ramos, a professor at the Legal Assistance Clinic of the University of Puerto Rico. "This has so, so many consequences."
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