Foreclosure

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Another Fallout From the Foreclosure Crisis: Voting

By Rachel Dornhelm

In South Merced, foreclosure hit this neighborhood hard. All but two homes have been foreclosed upon, a neighbor says. Hook ups in this empty lot mark where another home was never built. (Photo: Rachel Dornhelm)

All but two homes in this South Merced neighborhood have been foreclosed on, a neighbor says. Hook ups in this empty lot mark where another home was never built. (Photo: Rachel Dornhelm)

At a suburban development in South Merced, sidewalks and electrical hook ups are signs that houses were to be built here. At one of the first full blocks of homes, I knock and Dina Gonzalez opens the door. She runs an in-home day care, her bright personality matches the center’s primary colored walls.

But stepping outside she grows more somber. Gonzalez points at a row of neat stucco houses and says that nearly all of them have been foreclosed on.

“Just me and the person at the end is the ones that kinda saved our home,” Gonzalez says. “But back there, the other line, most of these three lines, most of the people is new. … Across the street this family lost their house, and she lost her job, too. So she couldn’t afford — not even rent an apartment. So they didn’t have no choice. They were looking, living in shelters on the street by the train.

Losing a house had an effect on voting as strong as poverty or a lack of education.

Gonzalez says she was lucky and got a loan modification. But she’s seen other home day-care providers fold, as families lost jobs and moved away. In the midst of all the upheaval, Gonzalez could see voting was the last thing on people’s minds.

“A lot of the parents and a lot of people in the community start feeling discouraged. They didn’t feel trust in the economy and the system, and it’s kinda hard to be picking up and feeling trust in the White House.” Continue reading