Florida faces mounting crisis of abandoned foreclosures

MANATEE — A mounting crisis created by the record number of foreclosures in Manatee County has hit Jeannette Traylor right where she lives: An abandoned foreclosed home has brought blight, crime and fear into her neighborhood.

For Traylor, it is becoming harder and harder each day to remember what the home used to be: a quaint three-bedroom, two-bath house nestled in a Northwest Bradenton neighborhood filled with similar homes and families living the quiet life. But the home at 5504 Fourth Ave. NW now stands out.

And not in a good way.

On the outside, a side door that has been repeatedly ripped out has plywood covering broken windows; a wooden fence around the backyard sits on its side, leaving an exposed pool filled with black, filthy water.

Inside is worse.

A stench of mold and signs of intruders are everywhere, a realization that has Traylor both scared and angry that she is losing the neighborhood where she has lived for 13 years.

"This is Northwest Bradenton, would you ever think this could happen here?" she asks. "I mean, I raised my kids here."

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