What Went Wrong: Foreclosures

Blog Entry: Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Feb. 9, 2012

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Blog Entry: Slumlords in New Haven taking Section 8 cash

Nov. 8, 2011

Landlords in New Haven are accused letting homes fall into foreclosure and disrepair—while still being paid rent subsidies. The New Haven Independent documents the conditions of deteriorating properties occupied by tenants who have few options.

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Mood of the country: 'anxiety-ridden'

Oct. 10, 2011

The head of Gallup, which polls Americans regularly, says the nation's mood is bleak. But Americans' lack of confidence in the federal government concerns him more.

Blog Entry: City versus banks on foreclosed homes in Richmond, Calif.

Sept. 8, 2011

Richmond, Calif., wants to do something about blighted, foreclosed properties. But it says the banks that own them are getting in the way. Read more in The Bay Citizen.

Sidebar: Children victims of California foreclosure crisis

Aug. 18, 2011

Children feel the brunt of foreclosure and joblessness. An estimated 1.2 million kids in California live in families with at least one unemployed parent, and the state is considering budget cuts that could erode government safety nets, including early childhood education, child care and health care programs.

Video: Counselors: Long road ahead

Aug. 5, 2011

Peyton Herbert and Alicia Acota-Mahone, housing counselors from HomeFree USA, talk about the long economic recovery road ahead.

Video: Subprime loans targeted at minorities, says housing counselors

Aug. 5, 2011

Two housing counselors talk about subprime loans targets to minorities.

Video: Despite demand, housing counselors lose resources

Aug. 5, 2011

Peyton Herbert and Alicia Acosta-Mahone, housing counselors at the nonprofit HomeFree-USA in Hyattsville, Md., explain the unwavering high demand for housing counseling. More government cuts for these assistance programs take effect this fall.

Housing counselors under siege

Aug. 5, 2011

Housing counselors are getting hammered by federal budget cuts that take effect this fall, and any new money for 2012 is likely to require a fight — all in a period when foreclosure actions are expected to rise. 

Web Chat: Barlett and Steele talk about veterans housing

July 25, 2011

Barlette and Steele chat live about veterans' housing on Monday July 25th at 1 p.m.

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California reeling from the foreclosure crisis

July 25, 2011

California’s foreclosure crisis has decimated urban centers and swaths of the Central Valley. One in 51 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the first six months of 2011, according to RealtyTrac. Minorities in the state are being hit the hardest. New America Media's Ngoc Nguyen explores the reach of the state's mortgage meltdown and legislative efforts to solve California's deep housing problems.

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Vets hit hard by foreclosure in Florida

July 23, 2011

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral region, home to about 60,000 veterans, is a microcosm of what is happening all over America to veterans facing tough times.

Slideshow: Faces of the foreclosed

July 21, 2011

California’s foreclosure crisis has decimated urban centers and swaths of the Central Valley. One in 51 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the first six months of the year, according to RealtyTrac. Here are some of the impacted.

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Putting a human face on the financial crisis

July 21, 2011

The Investigative Reporting Workshop and New America Media have teamed up to portray the human face of the crisis a year after the passage of landmark financial reform legislation.In California, we profile homeowners who have been devastated by the loss of their homes and have had to start over. In Maryland, we examine the nation’s wealthiest majority-black county, where the consequences of lost homes will ripple for generations.

Profiles: Stigma compounds stress

July 21, 2011

This senior engineer, on the brink of foreclosure, cashed in half of his retirement savings to pay off what he owed the bank in overdue mortgage payments.

Profiles: Learning to live with less

July 21, 2011

“When you buy a house together, you think you’re going to live there together… but unfortunately it didn’t work that way,” said Janet Lopez, who feels like she is starting over.

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Profiles: No plans to retire

July 21, 2011

Susie Ku and her husband, Jung Ku, saved to buy a house in which they could retire, but they couldn't maintain the payments or find renters who could.

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Profiles: Forced to downsize

July 21, 2011

Ineligible for programs aimed to stop foreclosure, Shawna Cordova and her family were forced to downsize last year.

Explainer: How NOIs work

July 21, 2011

In Maryland, a Notice of Intent to Foreclose is the first step in the formal foreclosure process. As soon as 45 days after a borrower misses a mortgage payment, the lender can send a notice to a borrower, initiating the foreclosure process.

Map: Subprime mortgages issued in Maryland counties, 2006

July 21, 2011

Minorities in Maryland were far more likely to get a subprime loan in 2006, near the peak of the housing boom. In Prince George's, the nation's wealthiest majority-black county, more than 40 percent of all loans were subprime.

Video: Neighborhood struggles through housing collapse

July 21, 2011

Doris Tucker watched six out of the 11 houses on her block go into foreclosure: “You already see a change in the quality of life,” she said. “You see more drastic crime. People are desperate.”

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Profiles: Stress worsens health

July 21, 2011

For three years, Pretti Hilton has been struggling to modify the loan on her two-bedroom home with Bank of America. She says she has sent them her financial documents at least 30 times, and while her determination to save her home is palpable, so is her stress level.

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Profiles: Still hopeful

July 21, 2011

Having onced lived in a one-bedroom trailer with her five children, Margaret Cedeno is doing all she can to avoid losing her house, athough the entire household unemployed. Cedeno is hoping to obtain a loan modification.

A history of foreclosure prevention: lots of programs, little success

July 21, 2011

Since the foreclosure crisis hit, the federal government has launched program after program to help homeowners. But the number of foreclosures, delinquencies, vacancies and lives destroyed continues to mount.

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Promoting home ownership through the years

July 21, 2011

Since 1995, the federal government has spent nearly $40 billion and provided trillions of dollars worth of insurance guarantees to lenders to promote homeownership, with many initiatives focused specifically on communities of color. But despite more than 15 years of commitments to the American dream, almost all the gains in home ownership made since the early 1990s have been erased.

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Foreclosures mount, mediation efforts fail

July 21, 2011

Prince George's County, Md., is the wealthiest majority-black county in the country. Here, as in many communities of color, residents have been devastated by the foreclosure crisis. Mediation was touted as a way to stop the bleeding. But a year after the state passed a mediation law, just 56 homeowners have gotten a modification of their loan. 

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Profiles: Back to the mobile home

July 20, 2011

Three years ago, Santiago Vargas and his extended family shared a 3,000-square-foot home on a new development. When his daughter and her husband became unable to afford the mortgage and moved out, Vargas moved the rest of the family into a new mobile home.

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Profiles: Large family makes do with less

July 20, 2011

Evicted from their three-bedroom home after falling behind on mortgage payments, René Lopez and his family now squeeze into a much smaller apartment.

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Profiles: Finding peace after the storm

July 20, 2011

After Dianne Pinkston inherited her childhood home in 2007, the mortgage payments became a huge stress on her life.

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Profiles: Family won't give up

July 20, 2011

Donna Vieira has become a fixture in Reno's Washoe County Courthouse ever since her family lost their second home to foreclsoure. Vieira says Wells Fargo over-appraised the property.

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Profiles: Senior loses her independence

July 20, 2011

Ethel Gist realized she could no longer afford her “dream home” during the height of the recession, when her adjustable rate mortgage jumped. Today, she lives with her daughter and grandchildren in a rental house.

Profiles: Thrown into an unstable rental market

July 20, 2011

After the foreclosure of her condo, Brenda Fuller moved from rental to rental while dealing with a pile of debt.

If government foreclosure prevention isn't working, what is?

April 15, 2011

The Obama Administration’s foreclosure prevention program was projected to help 3 million to 4 million homeowners. Now, the program is expected to help less than half that. So if the program isn’t saving homes, what is?

What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele are revisiting America: What Went Wrong, their landmark 1991 newspaper series, in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over the next year, the project team will examine how four decades of public policy has shaped America's ongoing economic crisis.

Issues

Back Story

The authors talk about What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about the project, and why they decided to revisit a book they wrote two decades ago, in a series of video clips produced by the Workshop.

Nation's Story

Who pays the taxes?

Who pays the taxes?

We feature charts, maps, photos and other visualizations that reflect the state of the economy as part of our What Went Wrong project. This column chart shows the growing disparity between what individuals and corporations pay in taxes. In the 1950s, the difference was 22 percent. Recent figures show the difference is 62 percent.

Rags to rags: Economic mobility hard to come by

New Pew Center on States report confirms that moving up the American economic ladder is difficult, even though most people have more income than their parents.

Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Older workers face challenges in Silicon Valley

An advanced degree and experience in the tech sector should be a ticket to a job in today's economy. But older workers in the heart of the new economy, Silicon Valley, are finding their resume is not the issue. Aaron Glantz reports in The Bay Citizen.

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Read an Excerpt

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.