In Florida, Despair and Foreclosures
Desperation has moved into this once-middle-class exurb of Fort Myers, where hammers used to pound. Its straight-ahead stare was hidden amid the chatter of 221 families waiting for free bread at Faith Lutheran Church on a recent Friday morning; and it appeared a block away a few days earlier, as laid-off construction workers in flannel shirts scavenged through trash bags at a home foreclosure, grabbing wires, CDs, anything that could be sold.
“I knew it was coming,” said Gloria Chilson, 56, the former owner of the house, as she watched strangers pick through her belongings. “You take what you can; you try not to care.”
Welcome to the American dream in high reverse. Lehigh Acres is one of countless sprawling exurbs that the housing boom drastically reshaped, and now the bust is testing whether the experience of shared struggle will pull people together or tear them apart.