Daily Video

October 27, 2008

What Really Happens in a Foreclosure?

This moving report looks at the work of a company that clears out homes that have gone through foreclosure.

Because the banks want the houses to be ready for sale as soon as possible, John Plocher’s company does what he calls “trash outs”-where they basically throw everything out.

During the report, workers throw out little girls’ dresses and toys, marveling that families leave photographs, computers, large screen TVs and other prized possessions.Although Plocher has tried to arrange pick-ups with charities, the organizations have never showed up on time and most of the furniture and household items end up in the landfill.

Warning: This is an important story that shows the real-life tragedies in the current economic crisis, but it is also very emotional. Be prepared to talk about student feelings and provide them with strategies for dealing with sadness or fear.


“Well, I think that they didn’t have the money to get a moving van and so they took what they could, threw it in their car, and they’re off. We don’t even know where they would go, but maybe to relatives, to a hotel.” – John Plocher, owner of a business that cleans out foreclosed homes

“I think that people finally get to this point are depressed. They’ve lost their home, and they’re probably not thinking straight. They’ve lost everything. And as you can see, a lot of good stuff is still here, and so they must be in great despair.” – John Plocher, owner of a business that cleans out foreclosed homes

“I have pick up their children’s toys. I mean, I pick up dolls and I wonder, I wonder if this was a little girl’s best friend. I wonder what this was to somebody else. And now it’s going in the dumpster.” – Foreclosed home cleaner

“I don’t think the United States or at least California could handle another one of these foreclosure crises, but we’ll go through this process again. In the short term, yes, everybody has burned their hand and they remember that burn. But over the long term, 10 years from now, we might be back here.” – John Plocher, owner of a business that cleans out foreclosed homes

Warm Up Questions

1. How much does a house cost?

2. How do people afford to buy a house?

3. What happens when a family can no longer pay the mortgage on their house?

Discussion Questions

1. How did this report make you feel?

2. How might you comfort a friend whose family is forced to leave their house?

3. If you were in a similar situation, who would you talk to? Parents, teachers, counselors in your school?

4. What does this report say about the state of the economy?

5. How do you think the government is handling this crisis? Should the government bail out individual homeowners struggling to keep their homes? What are the pros and cons of taking that action?

Additional Resources

Transcript of this report

The full report on KCET Web site

Lesson Plan: Financial Crisis Glossary

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