Putting Them Out

The Times works the Miami eviction beat

A Credit to The New York Times for adding to its recent strong coverage on the impact of the housing crisis.

This week, reporter Damien Cave follows the Miami-Dade County police around on the eviction beat and it’s not a pleasant read.

In a decade handling evictions for the Miami-Dade County Police Department, Albert Fernandez has run across a middle-class father bankrupted by his daughter’s cancer treatment; an old woman scammed by a gambling husband; and countless families perpetually on the edge of poverty.

But he has never turned out as many people as he does now.

And Fernandez doesn’t seem to like it much:

‘The hardest ones are the old ladies,’ Officer Fernandez said. Many have been victimized by relatives who took out a home equity loan, often with a forged signature, and then never paid the money back.

‘It’s tough,’ he said. ‘You think of them as your grandmother or grandfather.’

As for the future, Cave ends with some thoughts from more of the foot soldiers in the housing crisis—those who run eviction companies. They don’t mince words:

When they were asked if they saw any sign of a turnaround, of the market’s bottom, their answers were clear.

‘We see it getting worse,’ Mr. [Christopher J.] Fedor [of Florida Field Services] said. ‘And worse. And worse.’

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Elinore Longobardi is a Fellow and staff writer of The Audit, the business-press section of Columbia Journalism Review.