The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

From a house in Florida to a tent in rural Hawaii

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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A Foreclosure sign is seen in front of a bank-owned home for sale in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 8, 2010. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

In the five years since housing prices began to collapse, almost 4 million homes have been lost to foreclosure. Behind that enormous statistic are millions of personal tragedies.

Paul Kiel focused on one, the story of a 58-year-old woman named Sheila Ramos, in a 16-page story for Pro Publica. Ramos went from living in a house in Florida that was fully paid for, to living in a tent in rural Hawaii.

He follows her, and the story of her mortgage — from the broker who sold it to the international bank that ended up owning it as part of a mortgage-backed security. It's a 16-page examination of all the things that went wrong, and it finds plenty of people to blame.

Paul Kiel is a reporter for Pro Publica. His "Great American Foreclosure Story" is also available for download as a Kindle single.

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