Housing

Spring Break At The Foreclosure Inn

From this weekend's Times Magazine:

It's 3 p.m., time for a makeshift happy hour in the parking lot of Value Place, an extended-stay motel here in town and a haven for those who have been foreclosed upon. No background check is required; no credit card needed. It's the housing equivalent of a throwaway cellphone. "And that," says Elliot Abrams, Room 318, "is why it's the bomb." ...

Last year, he lost his job dealing cards at the Fort Myers-Naples dog track and could no longer afford his mortgage, association fees or electric bill. He smoked cigarettes alone in his dark condo, which he bought for $210,000 — neighboring units have recently sold for less than a quarter of that. One afternoon, he went out for a meatball sub and returned to find a padlock on his front door.

Overwhelmed, he admits bankruptcy is his only option, but doesn't know how to begin the process.

"Go to a lawyer," Jerry Raymer, Room 128, says as he details his Corvette with a toothbrush. "They'll show ya real quick." Raymer is a retired car salesman. He is also my father. I used to visit him at his three-bedroom on Spoonbill Lane, seven miles down the road. He would grill steaks on the patio while I would soak in the hot tub. But after he lost his job at Plattner Automotive, he lost his home — one of 1,421 foreclosure filings in Lee County in February 2010. So this year, I'm spending spring break in Room 313.

Read the whole article.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.