California: Ground Zero for America’­s foreclosure crisis


Los Angeles resident Rene Lopez, 58, peeks inside his old home. Photo by Joseph Rodriguez /New America Media

Pace expected to quicken in 2012 as more homeowners fall into financial distress

Ethel Gist bought her dream house and planned to retire to Antioch. Instead, the 70-year-old lost the house during the height of the foreclosure crisis, and now rents a place with her daughter and two grandchildren.

Ever since he lost his three-bedroom home in East Los Angeles, Rene Lopez says his world has “shrunk.” He and his family of seven are crammed into a two-bedroom apartment. Lopez, who lost his job as a jeweler, is struggling to find work in a restaurant.

Gist and Lopez  are the faces of foreclosure in California — ground zero for the housing crisis. Since the start of the housing crisis, the Golden State has the dubious distinction of being first in the nation in the number of total foreclosures, with more than half a million completed, based on data from October 2008 to June 2011 from Irvine, CA  RealtyTrac.

Read the complete story at New America

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 New America Media, partnering with ethnic news organizations across California and the Washington, D.C.- based Investigative Reporting Workshop, launched  Faces of Foreclosure  -- Repossing the American Dream, a multi-media project documenting the human fallout of the foreclosure crisis in the Golden State and elsewhere. Find the complete package here.