Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Friday November 20th, the “Across the USA” section of USA Today had the following depressing notice for Colorado:

“Denver – Colorado had a record-high number of foreclosures in the third quarter, when filings hit 12,468, the state Housing Department said. The quarter ending Sept. 30 was the fourth consecutive quarter in which foreclosure filings increased. For the year, foreclosure filings are up about 18% compared with the same period in 2008.”

The number of working Coloradans fell by almost 10,000 in the month of October this year. Colorado’s unemployment rate is at 5.3% better than the national average. But I would guess that the Globeville and Northeast Neighborhoods in Denver hit closer to 20%.

I hope you are as upset as I am about these statistics. They hit home to me recently when I saw my neighbor putting boxes in her station wagon. “Are you going out of town,” I asked. “Dennis, I have been out of work for some time now and I am taking the keys to my house down to the bank. My house is in foreclosure.” My neighbor got in the car and drove away.

These statistics hit home to me because I think of my own grandparents who lost their home during the depression. My grandfather lost his job on the Moffat Railroad and the Gallagher family lost their house. “The girls went to St. Clare’s Orphanage on 26th and Osceola and I (my dad) and my brother, Louie went to St. Vincent’s Orphanage on Lowell,” my dad often said. It took my grandparents two years to get back on their financial footing. My dad said, “My brother cried himself to sleep every night for two years while at St. Vincent’s.” Despite being split up from their families, the Gallagher kids had fond memories of loving nuns who tried their best helped them through those tough homeless depression years.

It affected us all. All our family reunions retold depression and orphanage stories. The stories sounded just like McCourt’s "Angela’s Ashes", without the free food wakes, without the humor, without the songs. Homeless counts continue to grow in our city.

So it’s going to take awhile for Denver and Colorado to crawl our way out of the current ‘recession.” Depressing, isn’t it?

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