Today is National Day of Action on Foreclosures. Occupy Our Homes has created a list events at their site here.
Quick friendly reminder, concerning neighborhood hygiene. One generic argument cities used for breaking up Occupy encampments was the idea of hygiene and safety. If only they showed the same concern for foreclosed homes!
Want an example? In 2007, there was a West Nile virus outbreak in the Bakersfield area of Kern County, California. This was unanticipated by experts, as the weather was dry and hot in that area. Since the logical place where the mosquitoes would come from, the Kern River, was mostly dry, researchers couldn’t find where the mosquitoes were breeding at first.
The culprit turned out to be foreclosed homes. A Center for Disease Control report found that the mosquitoes carrying the virus were coming from “an extensive number of green or neglected pools… The likely reasons for neglected pools are the adjustable rate mortgage and associated housing crises of Kern County and throughout California, which have led to increased…home abandonment.” The Governor had to appropriate an emergency $6.2 million to fight these new mosquitoes breeding in foreclosed pools. Here’s an aerial map from the CDC:
Center for Disease Control:
Careful examination of service requests for mosquito control made to the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District (KMVCD) and an aerial survey of Bakersﬁeld showed an extensive number of green or neglected pools, most of which were producing mosquitoes. The likely reasons for neglected pools are the adjustable rate mortgage and associated housing crises in Kern County and throughout California, which have led to increased house sales, notices of delinquency of payment, declarations of bankruptcy and home abandonment. Kern County was especially affected (Figure 1), with a 300% increase in notice of delinquency in the spring quarter of 2007 compared with that of 2006. Associated with home abandonment was the expanding number of neglected swimming pools, Jacuzzis (hot tubs), and ornamental ponds. As chemicals deteriorated, invasive algalblooms created green swimming pools that were exploited rapidly by urban mosquitoes, thereby establishing a myriad of larval habitats within suburban neighborhoods that were difﬁcult to locate from the ground.
Meanwhile a Florida paper, in September 2011, writes West Nile Worries Residents in Neighborhood with Foreclosed Home, Abandoned Pool, “The problem, she said, is the abandoned pool in her neighbor’s backyard…County records show the bank took possession of the property in August 2010. But around the house in the 7000 block of San Jose Boulevard, there are overgrown shrubs and a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Peters is worried about West Nile. ‘Labor Day it got so bad we kind of had to scoot everybody into the house, she said.” This hasn’t gone away as a problem.
But if someone was to occupy these homes and clean these pools…..
Meanwhile, I’ve lost track of the large number of these heart-breaking stories I’ve come across following foreclosures:
That is a nightmare that Secrena Erwin lives every day. Last July, her 5-year-old daughter, Sheyenne Jenkins, went out to play in the backyard of their Avon, Ind., home while her grandparents were baby-sitting her.
But instead of staying in her yard, Sheyenne wandered into the adjoining property — an abandoned, foreclosed home with a backyard pool. The pool was still filled with water. It had a pool cover, but with no one to tend it, the cover had sagged beneath the surface of the pool water over time. Somehow, Sheyenne fell in. By the time she was found, it was too late.
But if someone was to occupy these homes and maintain these pools and watch out for danger…..