February 2, 2007

Houses of Ill Repute

An old man in Brooklyn invites some homeless prostitutes into his house on a cold winter night. They never leave. Plus other stories about houses, such as the United States Congress, where the inhabitants don't always act as they should.


Host Ira Glass talks to Randall Bell, who specializes in assessing how tragedy affects real estate. He's found that the market is much quicker to forgive and forget a scandal than the neighbors are. (4 minutes)
Act One

It's Not A Crack House, It's A Crack Home

Joe had lived alone in his big house in Brooklyn for decades. Then one night he saw a few people—prostitutes, actually—shivering outside in the cold, and he opened up his home to them. Pretty soon his upper floors were completely trashed. His house became overrun by the neighborhood's roughest characters, and somehow he couldn't do anything about it. Maherin Gangat reports the story. (23 minutes)
Act Two

The Crisco Kid

When David Wilcox was eighteen, he set about looking for an apartment in Houston. He had no credit and very little money, but he was determined to move away from home. He finally found a place in the only apartment complex he could afford. After a few disturbing encounters with neighbors—plus a tornado—he realized maybe he needed to think again. (14 minutes)

Act Three

Bully's Pulpit

There's probably no house more famous for the bad behavior of its denizens than the U.S. House of Representatives. For twelve years, Democrats squirmed under the heel of the Republican majority. Since the 2006 elections, though, they're giving back a bit of what they got, while the new GOP minority complains in a very familiar way. It's the age-old, unwinnable fight: "Who started it?" Producer Alex Blumberg talks to both sides. (13 minutes)