By Mary Kane
March 19, 2009
Per my earlier post explaining the growing crisis of vacant homes
piling up around the country, here’s one of the best explanations for
why we should be alarmed by this problem, courtesy of The Chicago

“It’s a concern for the same reason the subprime lending problem
should have been a concern five years ago,” said Geoff Smith, vice
president at the Woodstock Institute. “There are certain communities
that are more at risk, but if it goes unchecked … it has the potential
to spiral and affect all parts of the economy.”

It’s certainly gone unchecked so far.

On stretches of Chicago’s North Side, they call some neighborhoods
“condo ghost towns” now, because so many of those new developments are
vacant. Neighborhoods that used to be considered trendy and on the way
up are headed in reverse, blighted by vacancies and decline. This isn’t
going away anytime soon. Washington may not see it yet, but people who
live there are well aware that it’s going to take a very long time to
rebound from this mess.

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