Foreclosed Homes For The Homeless

SS Member Image By drodriguez 04.22.09
Foreclosed Homes For The Homeless

With home foreclosures reaching all time highs, unemployment rates skyrocketing and millions of Americans struggling every day to make ends meet, a handful of groups across the country are breaking the law to help families put roofs over their heads.  Advocacy groups like the Miami based Take Back the Land, Kensington Welfare Rights Union in Philadelphia and Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign in Minnesota have moved dozens of homeless families into vacant foreclosed houses over the last several months. 

As reported in the New York Times, CNN and on Fox News these organizations set themselves apart from unorganized bands of squatters in that they oftentimes screen their "clients" for mental illness and drug dependency, and require them to pay all utilities and keep up with housecleaning and maintenance.

Once a family passes the screening process the group will help them move into the foreclosed house, set up utilities, change the locks while absorbing most of the initial expenses.  Though removing squatters used to be a top priority for local law enforcement, it is being reported that sheriffs are often turning their heads or just too busy to patrol with the huge rise in foreclosures.

To evict someone from a foreclosed house law enforcement needs to have a signed affidavit from the owner of the property - usually a bank.  With the economy as bad as it is and the market flooded with vacant homes, a family may live under these conditions for close to a year before any one takes notice.

What do you think of the organizations that are illegally placing homeless people into vacant homes?

Should law enforcement officials simply look the other way when squatters take up residence in a foreclosed home?

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  • babemobile28 By babemobile28

    I think its great to try and get people off the streets BUT not like this. They are going in and changing the locks, so nobody can then view the house to be wonder the banks are losing money and we the people are suffering in return. These organisations should be arrested and shut down. I am all for helping the homeless and have done so before but not at other peoples expense. Shame on them !!

  • calichristy2 By calichristy2

    I agree with those saying the family that lost the home to foreclosure should be able to stay until the property is sold off, as long as it is because they are renting not some reckless homeowner that moved into a property they just couldnt afford. Id rather have a past renter living there than a squater who doesnt have any morals to begin with, those are the people that w end up purchasing a home and end up having to do 1,000's of $ dollars worth of work on homes after they squata nd leave.

  • sarmetta By sarmetta

    Many reasons could be behind a foreclosed home, people have lost their jobs, deaths in the family, etc etc... i would have a hard time knowing a squatter is staying in my foreclosed home for free, when i have busted my tush trying to keep it over my families heads... i think it's complete BS..... these families may have issues as well.. but we ALL have to deal with our own misfortunes, and get help in the legal ways.

  • charismadevice By charismadevice

    I myself had a house foreclosed on and it does not bother me at all that after I had to vacate, a homeless family could find shelter for a while in an otherwise empty possibly warm, dry structure. I wonder with all of these negative viewpoints where some of these women live?? Yes upholding the law is important and I do consider myself a model citizen, but this is reality. I drove through a neighborhood yesterday where there were 3 or 4 empty houses per block. Could you imagine that being your "community" or how dangerous that could be for you or your children? Maybe five years ago I would have had a different opinion and for some of you step out of your neiborhoods.

  • jallen9245 By jallen9245

    These organizations should take those funds and buy vacant warehouses,remodel them and supply housing for the homeless until they are prepared to buy their own houses.

  • aliona By aliona

    It is noble, and imagine yourself i this situation!Anything can happen to any of us! But law is law! And it has to be handled propely! Otherwise it would be very convenient to a lot of people to stop the payments. I think there should be some very strict rooles about it ,but we are people with compasionat hearts after all!

  • jennstra By jennstra

    Yes, it is sad that folks are homeless, but why should they get to live in someone else's house? No one cares for a home like a home OWNER, damage will be done and others will be left to do the repairs. How are people who have been homeless supposed to pay for repairs and upkeep? I realize that many homeless have jobs, but most likely money is tight and it costs a lot to keep up a home.What these agencies are doing is against the law and they should be stopped. Why don't they set folks up in apartments instead of illegally breaking into houses?

  • twin_pat By twin_pat

    No one has a right to move in to a forclosed home. If that is the case, the previous owners shouldn't have moved out if all they had to do is contact these organizations. These organizations are breaking the law. If any damage is done to these homes, the organizations should be held responsible.

  • tractorqueen By tractorqueen

    Why not just let the familes who are living in the home that is being forclosed on live there and help them, instead of putting someone else there.

  • jemappel By jemappel

    I agree with all the prior comments about the unfairness for the families who suffered the foreclosures.

  • firehorse1331 By firehorse1331

    There are many angles at which this can be viewed. I remember when this issue first came into the media. It started over an old squatters law placed on the books many years ago and never removed in modern times. One of the primary reasons the Law Enforcement agencies and Neighbors are turning their heads to this is the fact that a vacant house is more subject to being overtaken by a deviant, turned into a crack house, left to deteriorate, lawn left unkempt, thus lowering the property values. In this situation the homes are being kept up, yards being kept up, thus the neighbors are not complaining. Many of these homes would not have been vacant in the first place had the banking industry, real estate agents and property appraisers shown due responsibility in the first place. This is a catch 22 situation. There really are no right or wrong answers. What has been done is done and the homes have been forclosed upon. This cannot be undone.

  • centaur74 By centaur74

    Wow, I feel for the families and if the owner agreed think it could be a great program. HOWEVER, this doesn't seem legal. Immoral at best.


    What about the hard working family that lost the house to begin with - who's helping them?

  • agaphmou By agaphmou

    This is horrible! I can't believe they say that MOST of the owners are banks.They could also be inherited properties where the owner lives far from the property.Let them help the homeless the legal way and not by assisting them to squat on private property! Oh and SURE they're going to pay for utilities ,cleanliness and property upkeep..I'm sure the neighbors can't be too happy either.

  • LaurasLegacy By LaurasLegacy

    I don't condone breaking the law; however, these groups are taking precautions to ensure that the people and homes are cared for. So I don't really see it as a bad thing. After all, it is our duty (whether we want to believe/accept it or not) to help others. If I were in this situation, and trust me I am very close to it right now, I would want help. I do think that law enforcement should monitor the activities, not harass the families (they are already feeling bad enough) and encourage them to keep the homes tidy and perhaps, have them participate in community service to help keep the neighborhood safe as part of the stipulations to the getting the assistance. God Bless.

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