Monday, September 05, 2011
Urban Emptiness : Next Wave of Foreclosure Hell Created by the Banks
For Years now we have been seeing the news stories about Empty Homes, the Mortgage Meltdown. And we watched the Homes emptied, abandoned. It was a mess that should not have happened, the news blamed the Homeowners, I didn't and still don't. I blame the BANKS. The banks were greedy, they could have let families stay and live in their homes and pay rent, they could have worked out a negotiated payment plan. Here I live urban, a neighborhood close to universities,hospitals and colleges, there used to be many lovely duplexes and sidebysides and brownstone apartment buildings all full up with hardworking students and teachers and nurses and young doctors. Now they too sit empty with smudged darkened windows looking out confused. Yes, even Landlords were hit in the Foreclosure Epidemic, but the News forgot to tell anyone. And when the Empty Buildings fill a street, things change, Grafetti tagging starts, and squatters quietly sneak in, and syringes appear on the treelawn. And Nightime Dog Walks become more of a planned affair.
The Banks abandoned the people, they abandoned the Homes. And now in many parts of the Country the second wave of Emptiness is hitting. Commercial and Business Real Estate buildings are filling up whole blocks of Downtown Cleveland, and other Cities. It is eerie and quiet and lonely driving by block after block of Emptiness. I drive my Refugee Patients downtown and we pass block after block of the "Emptiness" my one patient calls it. He says he has never seen anything like it, and I have a hard time explaining it. And then the next block we see homeless people sitting outside on a sidewalk. And he asks" Why does not someone take the empty builidings for them ? " he quietly asks. I am as haunted by what I see as the Man from Nepal. I have no smooth American Answer or Wisdom. I have only sorrow.
Some of the Buildings have been carefully boarded up and painted, I know that the Owners did this with love and sadness as they locked the doors the last time. The Buildings above are all near the Loft I used to live in Downtown, and each of them I knew them as a thriving lively Business. I still remember people going in and out and the Lights On. I remember all of this, even though My Loft was foreclosed in 2007 and the landlord hid crying in the garage and told me that I had less than 2 weeks to find another place and it was Zero degrees outside. I called it my UnMerry Christmas. And so my son and I moved 2 miles away from our Lovely Loft. And that wonderful Loft now still sits Empty and I drive downtown and spy on the pigeons flying in and out of my old windows....And the "Emptiness" Leaves a Hole in my heart.
Yet I will always know that Greed was what created this wave of Foreclosures....
HoneyCutters "GoodNight Irene"
I don't know why, but I hummed this song this weekend as I took photos of downtown....hundreds of photos...