The Great Eviction: The Landscape of Wall Street’s Creative Destruction

Vacant Homes

The Great Eviction: The Landscape of Wall Street’s Creative Destruction

We cautiously ascend the staircase, the pitch black of the boarded-up house pierced only by my companion’s tiny circle of light. At the top of the landing, the flashlight beam dances in a corner as Quafin, who offered only her first name, points out the furnace. She is giddy; this house — unlike most of the other bank-owned buildings on the block — isn’t completely uninhabitable.

It had been vacated, sealed, and winterized in June 2010, according to a notice on the wall posted by BAC Field Services Corporation, a division of Bank of America. It warned: “entry by unauthorized persons is strictly prohibited.” But Bank of America has clearly forgotten about the house and its requirement to provide the “maintenance and security” that would ensure the property could soon be reoccupied. The basement door is ajar, the plumbing has been torn out of the walls, and the carpet is stained with water. The last family to live here bought the home for $175,000 in 2002; eight years later, the bank claimed an improbable $286,100 in past-due balances and repossessed it.

It’s May 2012 and we’re in Woodlawn, a largely African American neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. The crew Quafin is a part of dubbed themselves the HIT Squad, short for Housing Identification and Target. Their goal is to map blighted, bank-owned homes with overdue property taxes and neighbors angry enough about the destruction of their neighborhood to consider supporting a plan to repossess on the repossessors.

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2 Responses to “The Great Eviction: The Landscape of Wall Street’s Creative Destruction”
  1. BOBBI SWANN says:

    To read this is devastating to the heart. After a few short paragraphs you seem to forget that you are reading about the United States and feel as though you are reading part in part from devastation in a third world country! Reality sets in quickly and the realization that Wall Street and in more depth, the Presidency, have reduced major cities to a third-world status. There’s no denying that I detest our current President and his cabinet (adding that is has NOTHING to do with his race). And here we are, most of the devastation is centered in black communities across the country – those are the voters that placed him in office. How tragic is that he turns his back on those who saw with ‘blind eyes’. And yet, here he is for the 2nd time. He makes a public statement on his (heartfelt) sympathies for Trayvon Martin and the continued fight against racism while his wife independently and publicly states her own (racist) feeling that she hates white people! Even though there’s no much to choose from with the next election I am grateful that the remaining 4 years will be the beginning of the end of this presidency. The failing of our once productive cities, like Detroit, into total shambles with bankruptcy, and our President is not willing to help them out? Despite what will be told in history books the ‘real’ story of truth will be told by the millions of those who lived his destruction on to generations to come. We are so close to the end, and so far from the beginning.

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