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Thread: US mortgage crisis creates ghost town

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    Default US mortgage crisis creates ghost town

    US mortgage crisis creates ghost town

    The streets are empty. Trash rustles down the road past rusted barbecues, abandoned furniture, sagging homes and gardens turned to weed.

    This is Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland and a town ravaged by the subprime mortgage crisis roiling the United States.

    Faded "for sale" signs sit in front of deserted houses. The residents are gone, either in search of new jobs after the factories shut down, or in shame after being evicted for missing their mortgage payments.

    A red, white and blue American flag flies over windows and doors which have been boarded up to keep the drug dealers away.

    Thieves have stripped many homes of the plumbing, the doors, the windows, the aluminum siding.

    The police station parking lot is full. The officers, who have seen their numbers triple since 2006, are coming back from their rounds. They speak of installing alarms in some of the homes claimed by squatters.

    At 9422 Chagrin Street, a hand-scrawled sign attached to a window indicates someone lives there: "Please Used."

    After three rings of the bell, Sarah Evans, 60, opens the door with a mixture of curiosity and alarm.

    She says she is one of the last people left on the street. And she is on the verge of losing this two-bedroom house in which she has lived for more than 30 years because she simply cannot afford her monthly payments.

    It is a complicated story. She refinanced in 2003, but did not realize the document she signed included provisions to radically increase the interest rate.

    She stopped making payments in 2006 and shows her unpaid bills totaling 24,000 dollars.

    Her bank is in the midst of eviction procedures.
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    Last edited by Rajiv; 01-30-08 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Modified URL

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