The De-Evolution of a Suburban Gated Community

Inside this gated community in the L.A. suburb of Hemet, the recession is taking a tough toll and making life difficult for the families that had moved there for quiet calm.
March 31, 2010, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Home foreclosures have devastated neighborhoods throughout the country, but the transformation from suburban paradise to blighted community has been especially stark in places like Willowalk -- isolated developments on the far fringes of metropolitan areas that found ready buyers when home prices were soaring but then saw an exodus as values crashed.

Vacant homes are sprinkled throughout Willowalk, betrayed by foot-high grass. Others are rented, including some to families that use government Section 8 vouchers to live in homes with granite countertops and vaulted ceilings."

Now, vandals roam the streets and scavenge materials from empty homes. Many houses are boarded up, and the families who remain are prisoners of their mortgages.

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Published on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 in Los Angeles Times
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