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Reuters: Tent City Due To The Housing Crisis

As everyone knows, an important Christmas tradition these days is for our media to remind us that we are just one paycheck away from living on the streets — just like the rest of the victims of capitalism.

And that goes double when Republicans control the White House and an election is nigh.

Of course the stories don’t have to be true.

Take this story from Reuters:

A U.S. flag flies at ‘tent city’, a terminus for the homeless in Ontario, a suburb outside Los Angeles, California December 19, 2007.

Tent city in suburbs is cost of home crisis

By Dana Ford Fri Dec 21

ONTARIO, California (Reuters) – Between railroad tracks and beneath the roar of departing planes sits “tent city,” a terminus for homeless people. It is not, as might be expected, in a blighted city center, but in the once-booming suburbia of Southern California.

The noisy, dusty camp sprang up in July with 20 residents and now numbers 200 people, including several children, growing as this region east of Los Angeles has been hit by the U.S. housing crisis.

The unraveling of the region known as the Inland Empire reads like a 21st century version of “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck’s novel about families driven from their lands by the Great Depression.

As more families throw in the towel and head to foreclosure here and across the nation, the social costs of collapse are adding up in the form of higher rates of homelessness, crime and even disease.

While no current residents claim to be victims of foreclosure, all agree that tent city is a symptom of the wider economic downturn. And it’s just a matter of time before foreclosed families end up at tent city, local housing experts say

Steve, 50, who declined to give his last name, moved to tent city four months ago. He gets social security payments, but cannot work and said rents are too high

Nationally, foreclosures are at an all-time high. Filings are up nearly 100 percent from a year ago, according to the data firm RealtyTrac. Officials say that as many as half a million people could lose their homes as adjustable mortgage rates rise over the next two years.

California ranks second in the nation for foreclosure filings — one per 88 households last quarter. Within California, San Bernardino county in the Inland Empire is worse — one filing for every 43 households, according to RealtyTrac…

The pattern is cropping up in communities across the country, like Cleveland, Ohio, where Mark Wiseman, director of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program, said there are entire blocks of homes in Cleveland where 60 or 70 percent of houses are boarded up.

“I don’t think there are enough police to go after criminals holed up in those houses, squatting or doing drug deals or whatever,” Wiseman said.

“And it’s not just a problem of a neighborhood filled with people squatting in the vacant houses, it’s the people left behind, who have to worry about people taking siding off your home or breaking into your house while you’re sleeping.”

Health risks are also on the rise. All those empty swimming pools in California’s Inland Empire have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can transmit the sometimes deadly West Nile virus, Riverside County officials say…

It’s amazing that Reuters left Global Warming off the list of the consequences of the “housing crisis.” Though, it’s implied in the laughable “Grapes of Wrath” reference.

Still, people are dealing drugs, stealing bikes and even the siding off of houses while the inhabitants are asleep, while other poor souls are contracting West Nile virus — all because of the “housing crisis.”

And worst of all, housing foreclosures have forced people out of their homes and into this tent city.

Except that none of the people in that tent city is there because they have lost a house due to foreclosure. Not a one.

Hilariously, the only tent city denizen Reuters could not afford the high price of housing driven up by the housing bubble:

Steve, 50, who declined to give his last name, moved to tent city four months ago. He gets social security payments, but cannot work and said rents are too high.

So he should be benefiting from the “housing crisis” and the alleged collapse in the cost of housing. But that doesn’t seem to have occurred to the Reuters propagandist reporter.

Such is the state of journalism in the 21st century.

Grind your axe. And damn the niggling details.

(Thanks to RightWinger for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, December 22nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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