December 6, 2008


By guest author, Anonymous:

A story called Foreclosure Alley originally aired on Sept 25 '08 on KCET (a Los Angeles public television station).  You can see the entire story by clicking on the link.  The statement in the story that 700 families a day were losing their homes was surprising enough, but what caught my ear and eye wasn't that.  It was the segment showing a company hired to empty out these houses.  They called the process a "trash-out" because they rapidly removed and dumped everything into a dumpster in the driveway.  The dumpster was then hauled, not to Goodwill or a used funiture dealer, but directly to a landfill. 

"Everything" included things like computers, big screen TVs, sofas, coffee tables, beds, clothes, china sets, wall hangings and family pictures.  These houses were less than 6 or 8 years old and had been selling, just a year or so ago for over $350,000.  A lot of the furniture looked very usable.  It all looked like a hollywood movie where families had just fled for their lives, leaving almost everything they owned behind.  The contractor emptying out the houses said that even though the families probably knew for months that foreclosure was coming, they were probably just too depressed or too broke to pack up and leave.  They just left.  Apparently hundreds or even thousands of houses are being abandoned like this.

The next story on the show was called Down But Not Out.  It was about a family with two children whose primary bread-winner had been the wife earning around $70,000 as a sales executive.  She lost her job about a year before, the husband's income was not high enough to pay the mortgage, so they lost their house.  Because her husband earns $900 a month, the family is apparently not eligible for welfare.  They are now being evicted from their apartment, which also costs $900 a month.  The woman has not been able to find any job, even at reduced rates of pay.  She and her husband live in fear of  becoming homeless.

These two stories were produced by SoCal Connected.  They put a real face on the current economic situation, at least in Southern California.


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