"Rural California's New Hard Times"
Not just Detroit or the suburbs of south Florida were devastated by the recession. In the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, few areas suffered more than California's rural Central Valley, where a string of small towns became home to the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the nation. In these mostly Latino and working-class communities, joblessness soared past 40% as residents were overcome by a perfect storm of hardship: foreclosures rose to nearly triple the national average, a collapsing construction industry shed 40,000 jobs, bankruptcies spiked 79% and the region's traditional backstop against hard times -- plentiful agricultural work in the fields -- fell victim to three years of drought. As the crisis deepened, hunger and homelessness boomed, resulting in near third-world conditions in the heart of the Golden State.
Roman Trujillo shaves in front of his home in "Taco Flat," a shantytown in downtown Fresno. After he lost his construction job, he built this house out of scrap lumber and tattered blankets, joining over a thousand other unemployed residents in this makeshift community just blocks from City Hall. He shaves with a shard of mirror he found in the trash while hunting for cans to recycle, his only source of income.