For the past few years, the Inland Empire in Riverside County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the state — home to a major housing boom. But now the Inland Empire has become something of a poster child for the foreclosure crisis. In the newer developments, house after house sits vacant — either up for auction, for sale by a bank or going for what’s called a “short sale,” which is when the owner owes more than the house is worth.
SoCal Connected tracked down some surreal sights associated with the crisis - a company that specializes in removing whatever people leave behind in their foreclosed homes. The process is called a “trashout” - a term the company came up with because it perfectly describes what happens. Everything that’s left is dumped in a trailer and taken to the landfill.
Then there’s the guy who started a business to spray-paint dead lawns. That’s right. He paints brown lawns green. We also tag along with a couple of code enforcement officers who are spending more and more of their time having to drain slimy, abandoned pools.
Finally, we meet a typical couple who bought their first home, thinking it was a great investment and tax write-off. Now the place is worth only half of what they paid for it and their neighborhood has almost as many vacant homes as occupied ones.
One of the code enforcement guys sums up the problem in a single sentence - “You know you’re in trouble when the lawns are brown and the pools are green!”