This is truly heartening news. The fact is that no one wants most of the abandoned homes. The banks threaten people with eviction, but after the former owners move out, they are often reluctant to take formal possession, because that would mean 1. paying property taxes; 2. trying to sell a house in a dead market; 3. maintaining the house or 4. paying the cost of tearing it down after it's been condemned. So the houses just sit in place and rot away.
When the woman who calls herself Queen Omega moved into a three-bedroom house here last December, she introduced herself to the neighbors, signed contracts for electricity and water and ordered an Internet connection. What she did not tell anyone was that she had no legal right to be in the home.
Ms. Omega, 48, is one of the beneficiaries of the foreclosure crisis. Through a small advocacy group of local volunteers called Take Back the Land, she moved from a friend’s couch into a newly empty house that sold just a few years ago for more than $400,000.
Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, said about a dozen advocacy groups around the country were actively moving homeless people into vacant homes — some working in secret, others, like Take Back the Land, operating openly.
In addition to squatting, some advocacy groups have organized civil disobedience actions in which borrowers or renters refuse to leave homes after foreclosure.The groups say that they have sometimes received support from neighbors and that beleaguered police departments have not aggressively gone after squatters.
I've already written about this absurd situation, where people are now living on the streets or in tent cities while perfectly good houses are sitting empty. Now, finally, we learn that something is being done. Good people are finding ways to work together and make things happen -- without benefit of money.
Let me look it up, this organization called Take Back the Land. Hang on just a second, I'm gonna go to the website . . .
OK, I'm back. Very very interesting site with some really informative videos. I'm gonna see if I can pick one up for us, over at youtube . . . . . .
OK, good, got it:
What a great interview! This guy is saying exactly what needs to be said, with a minimum of bluster, no fuss, but real eloquence. God bless him! But he's not taking it far enough. Because this is really what it should all be about. And by "all," I mean the economy as a whole. You have people with needs. You have resources lying idle. People need homes. Put them in the idle homes. People need jobs. Take over the abandoned shops, stores, factories, warehouses, restaurants, and put people back to work.
However . . .
Local vigilante groups are great for now but they can never be an adequate answer for the nation -- and the world -- as a whole. Government must take the lead. BIG government, yes. The bigger the better. Really really big. Every abandoned house, failed business, failed bank must be nationalized -- and put to work for the people as part of a BIG GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.
Oops, sorry Rush. Isn't there a pill you can take for apoplexy?