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vacant rite aid store closed sign

Original article appears on The Atlantic

Strange days are upon the residents of many a suburban cul-de-sac. Once-tidy yards have become overgrown, as the houses they front have gone vacant. Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading.

At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in. In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer,

“I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”

In the Franklin Reserve neighborhood of Elk Grove, California, south of Sacramento, the houses are nicer than those at Windy Ridge—many once sold for well over $500,000—but the phenomenon is the same. At the height of the boom, 10,000 new homes were built there in just four years. Now many are empty; renters of dubious character occupy others. Graffiti, broken windows, and other markers of decay have multiplied. Susan McDonald, president of the local residents’ association and an executive at a local bank, told the Associated Press, “There’s been gang activity. Things have really been changing, the last few years.”

Original article appears on The Atlantic

This entry was posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 at 1:28 am and is filed under All Posts, Poverty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment

  1. May 5, 2010 @ 10:59 pm


    Every day new Economic threats are being uncovered. Nothing is being done about it. Then, after 5 years, some government aide will appear on the media and announce – “THE PERFECT STORM”, as if there weren’t sufficient warning signs !
    S & P Stocks way ahead of Real Economy: http://bit.ly/9lUE1V

    Posted by David Jeremiah

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