House of Cards: The Faces Behind Foreclosures

One false step, one fierce wind, and a lifetime of work and hope can all come crashing down. The faces behind the foreclosures

Livia Corona for TIME

Zachery, a firefighter, was injured in an on-duty accident in 2007. Disabled and battling a weak economy, he had to liquidate his fledgling demolition business. Bills from the failed business deepened his debts.

Jeff Wagoner is a bankruptcy attorney in Kansas City, Mo., with the brush-cut hair and clear eyes of a former Navy aviator. From his office in a tower on a hill, he can see miles of prairie and a world of hurt. Wagoner's clients (and he has plenty these days) range from folks who had no business ever buying a house to folks freshly fired from executive suites. Based on his survey of the economic wreckage, Wagoner's conclusion is that even the slightest miscalculation or change in circumstances could send another customer through his door: "There are not a...

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