The Zombies Of Wall Street: The housing crisis crippling Cleveland
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A wind from Wall Street destroyed the once-proud neighbourhoods of Cleveland, Ohio, and hope has vanished from America’s former industrial heartland. But ten years after on, the worst is yet to come.
Since the 2007 sub-prime crisis, an exodus of families ruined by the banks has drained Cleveland’s life-blood. Communities declined and family homes are now scarred by the evidence of violent crime. Like many Cleveland residents, politician Jim Rokakis felt helpless against the power of global markets: “A lot of us raised our voices and we screamed and we waved and we said there’s a train wreck coming. Well the train wreck came”. The city has changed beyond recognition. As Police Chief Brandon Kutz says, “We’ve had a lot of homicides this year, we’ve had a lot of people shot. We’ve had a lot of citizens afraid and scared. It’s a serious issue”. Those who remain have few choices. Homes are worthless, and long-gone owners are stalked for maintenance costs they can’t afford. Resident Stephanie Benifield says, “People are dying and people are just abandoning the homes”, because “they can’t afford the homes and the upkeep.” For Rokakis, the fight against the banks has been lost. “This was a war”, he said. “We lost the war and what we’re doing now… this clean-up is basically burying the dead”.
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