Sunday, May 2, 2010

Monied 'Burb vs. Boom Town - Both Face Similar Issues

by Sandy Belknap

I spent last week in Las Vegas for a business event.  At first, Vegas didn't appear to be much different from the last time that I was there - 10 years ago.  But then I talked to the people who live there.  Mostly the service workers that tend to run the city.

Every single person that I talked to told me how terrible things have been over the past two years.  People have been losing their jobs and their homes due to the weak economy.  Million + dollar valued properties are now selling for $250-300K.   On my way to the airport, the driver told me, "Things are really slow."   I asked him if he's seeing a little bit of improvement over the past few months as we hear about a slowly improving economy and he said, flat-out, "No!"

That made me think about home.  Home in Nashua, NH.  I was thankful that things are better compared to where I had spent the past week.  I was wrong.  Things are not as good as I thought.

Within an hour of being home, I heard of a friend in Nashua who is losing her home. The family has to be out of their home by July 1st.  This friend is a hard-worker, has two jobs, is reasonable and practical and is so disappointed in the response she has been getting from her bank (basically no response!)

It's the reality of the very many stories we see on the news every night.  But I never thought this would happen to someone whom I know and see almost every day.

I wonder what is going to happen to her and her home. 

Where will her children go to school and will they have to acclimate to a whole new environment?  What will happen to her pets?  Will this be another foreclosed home, sitting empty with an overgrown lawn in my neighborhood to bring down the value of my own property?  Will someone purchase this home and turn it into another Section 8- government subsidized rental that we're seeing more and more of in my neighborhood? 

When I think back to my discussion in Vegas with the driver on my way to the airport yesterday morning, I have determined that no matter how you 'label' a segment of Americans, whether by geography or other demographic, such as  'Monied Burb' or 'Boomtown', we are all seeing the same stories play out in our own neighborhoods.  It's very concerning and I really wonder what it will take for things to really change for the better.