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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  • dstrinque By dstrinque

    I don't agree with this practice at all. The organizations should get the banks to agree to lease the homes to them for a minimal amount and then house the people in those rented properties. Just moving the homeless into these houses is the same as stealing. I am outraged that someone thinks this is a good idea.

  • grynchlyx By grynchlyx

    I think it's a catch-22 situation here. It's clearly illegal to do this, but the current state of legislation and laws from state to state ties up the process and funds that would make getting living quarters (legally) for those that are homeless and endless battle which could take years. I understand to an extent where they are coming from, but in the same breath, those people that were forced to give up their homes should also be allowed to move back in to them as well.

  • villahills3 By villahills3

    While I don't exactly agree with how they are doing it, I think it is a wonderful way to get people off the streets. If the banks want them out...they can call the police to have them removed. It does help the banks by keeping the houses occupied and safe from vandalism.

  • chell7 By chell7

    I was in a situation something like that. I was a renter that was living in a house that went into foreclosure, but the owner of the house was a crook! I got served with the forclosure papers and when I contacted the owner of the house she got her phone number changed. So if this helps people. Continue, doing what they are doing.

  • tonibegood By tonibegood

    I'm with mammakin76. The bank owns the property and if a homeless family squats there for a safe haven, let them be.

  • Mammakin76 By Mammakin76

    Wow- how negative is everybody? Sorry I don't know anyone that had thier home forclosed- but if it were my home, I would think I needed to move on and if a family could live there I would be glad to see that. What if these are single mothers, with children- can you imagine being homeless like that? I couldn't. If I was in that situation, I would love to have a safe place to sleep for the night with my child! If it is so illegal- then why are the police turning thier heads? This kind of negativity and selfishness is just what is wrong with us today.. maybe instead of complaining, we should open up OUR homes and let a family sleep at your place tonight. Maybe make sure that one homeless family a day shares a meal with you! The more you give... you know the rest!

  • mchavezrey By mchavezrey

    This is totally wrong! I can't believe no one is doing something about it. I agree the family that is being foreclosed on should be able to stay. Times are tough and something needs to be done. I can't believe the police are just turning their heads the other way!

  • iokijo By iokijo

    I have to agree with the previous comments... If they can't offer the same deal to the families that originally had the house & those facing foreclosure; then they should not be offering it to anyone. Sounds like a couple of organizations that need to be sued & their higher ups put in jail. That's great that they want to help families, but do it the right way. Yes times are hard.. for everyone.. they are just going to cause more problems.

  • BlondieKAA By BlondieKAA

    Wow!! This is completely wrong!! I don't care how you look at it, it's breaking the law!! And I can't believe that the police aren't doing anything about it!! There are much better (AND LEGAL!!!!) ways to help people!!

  • Blueoceans By Blueoceans

    That's not fair to the family that had to move out!! families with Homes under foreclosing should have the same right! and it's illegal!!!!

  • mandyg By mandyg

    This could be a very dangerous situation. Most of these forclosures have been empty for a long time and have some serious issues, such as faulty electrical and plumbing problems. The structure it self may not be sound. It may also encourage kids to break into these homes even more so if they know everyone else is doing it. They need to rethink all of this and put a stop to it immediately.

  • elenacala By elenacala

    While I think the idea is noble to help people get off the streets during such hard times, it is still illegal, and this country is still run by laws that everyone has to live by. If these groups really wanted to help people they could open up some homeless shelters, and help these people get back on thier feet by offering help with looking for work, building up thier resumes, offering training programs or to help them go back to school to learn new skills, or any number of legal things. I think they should take the mantra that I take, and that is, Give people a HAND UP not a HAND OUT.

  • americangal2 By americangal2

    They are breaking the law ! PERIOD. How dare this organization encourage stealing ! ACORN has a lot to do with this and it is disgusting.

  • CurvyMeli By CurvyMeli

    Wow, although they are trying to help people who are homeless and do so in a 'responsible' manner, this is just not right. I know people who have had to leave their home because of foreclosure, and to think that someone would just squat there, even changing the locks and establishing electricity, etc., appalls me. I think it would be better for these non-profits to spend their time and money arranging to buy these homes and then place families. There are HUGE discounts on foreclosed homes, and financially strapped banks might even consider stretching the limits of their generosity for these organisations just to get some cash and a boost in the media.

  • am_i_lost By am_i_lost

    It's completely wrong!! How do they know that the people that were foreclosed on aren't homeless now? This is gonna cause MAJOR problems. Someone is going to get hurt or worse. Did these people stop for one second and concider how the family that was foreclosed on feels of what there status is? I know I'd be mad as Hell if I lost my home only to find out someone else was living in it for free; other than utilities!! Maybe had I been given that option for a while until I could get back on my feet I wouldn't have to be foreclosed on!!!! Let this organization buy these homes and do it right or not at all. And for the law enforcement to turn it's head is just adding to the problem. Are they gonna turn their head when the previous owner snaps and go in with a gun? Who's fault will it be then? Just some deranged man? I'm sure the organization or the law enforcement won't be stepping up and assumeing any responsability then.

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