Posted by Deirdre Oakley, SOUTHWEST ATLANTA -- In June Atlanta posted the highest foreclosure rate in the Nation and some of the worst causalities have been the city's Southwest neighborhoods. These predominantly middle and working class Black neighborhoods have experienced the aftershock of widespread and discriminatory predator lending and mortgage fraud leaving entire blocks with patchworks of abandoned property scavenger and bank owned homes scattered among owner occupied ones. If the property scavengers and banks would keep up their properties perhaps the impact on the homeowners remaining in the neighborhood wouldn't be so bad. But these greedy entities are not house proud so lawns become overgrown and buildings rot. Ironically this all happens at the same time as house proud next door neighbors work tirelessly to keep up their properties. They do this even as their property values plunge because of the insidious disinvestment nearby. Sometimes the property scavengers will rent, sell, or evict, but mostly they, like the banks, remain absent. They will be back when the housing market has a significant upturn. Until then the house proud, hard working homeowners are stuck in a foreclosed frontier.
Deirdre Oakley is the Editor of Social Shutter and an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at Georgia State University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.