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AP: Foreclosures Add To Hurricane Risk

From the ever hand-wringing Associated Press:

In this May 19, 2009 photo, Mike Manikchand, a 22-year-old pharmacy student, poses in front his duplex in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Manikchand took advantage of the dismal housing market and bought the foreclosed duplex for a low price but now, looking at the empty house around him, he wonders what will happen if a hurricane slams into southwest Florida this year.

AP IMPACT: Foreclosures add to hurricane hazards

By Tamara Lush, Associated Press Writer

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – Mike Manikchand points toward his neighbors — a half-dozen empty, foreclosed-upon homes, sitting on weed-strewn yards — and he wonders: What will happen if a hurricane slams into southwest Florida this year?

His simple answer: "A lot of these places will get destroyed."

Unoccupied, these homes would be defenseless in a storm; there will be no one to put up shutters, batten down garage doors and otherwise secure homes. But that’s not all. Nearby homes and their residents would also be at risk from wind-propelled debris.

Lehigh Acres and other communities at the epicenter of the nation’s housing crisis are coming to realize that this year’s hurricane season, beginning June 1, represents yet another pitfall. Hurricanes could make hazards of thousands of foreclosed-upon houses, and their diminished value could decrease even more

The Associated Press Economic Stress Index — a month-by-month analysis of foreclosure, bankruptcy and unemployment rates in more than 3,000 U.S. counties — confirms that some of the areas most likely to be stuck by a hurricane are suffering the most in this recession.

In March, there were 281,691 homes in foreclosure in Florida and coastal counties in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia…

[S]hutterless homes can be a major safety hazard in a hurricane. And a region full of destroyed or heavily damaged homes would depress real estate values even further…

Some banks say that they have a plan for hurricanes; JP Morgan Chase says it will use property management companies and bank field employees to make sure properties are storm-ready. And if the homes are damaged or destroyed during a storm, said Michael Fusco, a spokesman for JP Morgan Chase, the bank "acts just like a homeowner" and will file an insurance claim.

Debora Blume, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo Bank, said her company hires local real estate agents who have been assigned to market bank-owned properties to secure homes against hurricane damage…

Yet residents throughout the hurricane zone are worried, especially those who live in foreclosure-dotted neighborhoods. Armando Gonzalez, 72, retired from Miami to Lehigh Acres five years ago.

He and his wife moved to a small home a few blocks from the city center, in a quiet yet thriving neighborhood. But in the last two years, his neighbors left, either because of foreclosure or job loss. Now he’s the only one on his block; the home next to him has a broken window and the one across the street is only half-built.

When asked what would happen to all the nearby, dilapidated homes if a hurricane hit, Gonzalez shrugged and grinned.

"I can’t do anything," he said. "Maybe I’ll pray. God will save me."

How absolutely preposterous. And yet how typical of the Associated Press.

Unoccupied, these homes would be defenseless in a storm; there will be no one to put up shutters, batten down garage doors and otherwise secure homes. But that’s not all. Nearby homes and their residents would also be at risk from wind-propelled debris.

Why wouldn’t the banks who own these houses take the time to put up shutters and batten down garage doors? (Even the article notes that is what they intend to do.)

And if the local residents shutter and batten down their own houses, how will they be damaged by flying debris from unoccupied houses?

No doubt the AP suggesting that we should give these houses back to the owners who couldn’t be bothered to keep up their payments.

Or, better yet, to (professionally trained) ACORN squatters.

They surely can be counted on to act responsibly in any emergency.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, May 31st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “AP: Foreclosures Add To Hurricane Risk”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “I can’t do anything,” he said. “Maybe I’ll pray. God will save me.”

    Curiously, that is the muslim way.

    • JohnMG says:

      Maybe if he’d do something positive instead of just standing there scratching his ass, his property would be protected. Or does he even care, being as it was probably my taxes that bought the place for him in the first place?

    • jobeth says:

      ““I can’t do anything,” he said. “Maybe I’ll pray. God will save me.”

      Ummm, seems to me I remember the same kind of mindset…oh….sometime back…during Katrina!!!

      Steve said
      “And if the local residents shutter and batten down their own houses, how will they be damaged by flying debris from unoccupied houses?” EXACTLY!!!

      As one who survived the eye of Hugo in ’89 and 3 of 4 storms that ran thru Florida a few years ago….YOU STAY INSIDE behind boarded up windows…or you get the heck out of Dodge…..dummy!!!

  2. LewWaters says:

    Having been born and raised in Southeast Florida and spending almost half my life there, if you obtain a home and are unaware of hurricanes, you get what you deserve.

    Then again, many of the hurricanes that hit Florida aren’t your usual ‘killer storms’ and cause mostly damage to trees and shrubbery. It all depends on the particular storm.

    Whether occupied or not, surrounding homes would receive no more damage than would an occupied home, save windows and possibly doors.

    Far more damage would result from flying debris such as limbs from trees and unsecured items outside the occupied homes.

    If the storm is strong enough to flatten an unoccupied home, what makes them think boarding up windows will keep an occupied home from also being flattened? In that case, remaining in your home is suicide.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    Hurricanes have a way of cleansing the stupid asses gene pool ……….
    Go ahead and ride out the storm pardner with your stupid ideas!
    btw………have you got extra room for Dutch1974?

  4. retire05 says:

    Ummm, Lehigh Acres……………isn’t that where the Obama worshipper, Henrietta Hughes, and her usless son, bought three lots and managed to get 100% funding for the home they built? Perhaps these people should start bitching at Ms. Hughes and her son for not paying their mortgage and running off.

    But no worry, Mssrs. Manikchand and Gonzales; Obama will raise his hand and hold back the wind and water.


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