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Filling abandoned houses with the homeless.


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  #1  
December 1st, 2011, 02:18 PM
MrsLMB's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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This article is getting a lot of attention here.

Fill empty houses with squatters? - Omaha.com

Would this ever work? Would it increase crime among the homeless by giving them an unsupervised place to stay? Would this encourage the homeless to stay homeless or is it something that would keep them alive and warm during our cold winter months? Or is this really a good solution to fixing up old, unsafe houses?
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Last edited by MrsLMB; December 1st, 2011 at 02:22 PM.
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  #2  
December 1st, 2011, 02:26 PM
3Kendra3's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3,621
I am pretty torn. I don't think they should be allowed to live there permanently. I say they have a certain amount of time to find a job, then once able to get on their feet move to another place and let someone else come in. It would be a good way to get the homeless to get a job. Like most people who are homeless say, if they don't have an address they can't get a job. That would enable them to have a physical address to get a job.

I would say only those with no criminal background though. It can cause controversy between them. But I don't say they get the whole house, they just split the house with others. Also with families coming first.
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  #3  
December 1st, 2011, 04:07 PM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
Join Date: Dec 2010
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I think for one being in those homes is a better supervised area than simply anywhere out on the streets they can find. Most likely it's safer too.
You can't really guarantee 100% safety, especially in some areas, but it certainly would be nice to come as close as you can. Out on the streets, in the elements, finding shelter in whatever other abandoned buildings they can find, trying to fend for yourself(and any dependents you might have) isn't going to be safer or healthier for someone who is homeless, in most cases. Too much potential for too much to go wrong. With very little, to no help, some folks are quite doomed to live their lives out, on the streets.
It's also a great way to make use of lots and buildings not currently being used. If I ever had the financing to refurbish abandoned buildings and homes and find new uses for them, this would definitely be an option I would explore. It opens up new avenues for so many who may very well not be there of their own accord. Sure some screw up, make mistakes and end up on the streets by their own hand, but not everyone. Cleaning places up and giving them new life will help the local economy too, even if it's not a huge difference, it will make a difference. It will make some places more appealing and less likely to diminish in value.
The folks who will be living there can even assist in the cleanup and remodeling, and such. Sort of like habitat for humanity requires you(or those you get to help) put in labor hours on your own house. I bet a lot of people would be willing to help fix places up if they knew they'd have a roof over their heads while doing it, and likely be far safer than they are wherever they currently "live".

They would need to keep a tight ship and put measures in place to ensure these places are as safe as they can make them. It wouldn't hurt to make local resources available to the folks living there either. I think social workers, the local job and family services(or whatever you call the welfare offices where you are) and things like this would be vital in helping people. Offer whatever help possible to get them back on their feet and on their own. I'm not so sure criminal background should be considered solely though, to be honest. Even most former criminals deserve a chance at life, well the best life they can have. If it weren't for programs that help people with a criminal background my uncle wouldn't have an even remotely stable life right now. Because the places that would, and do help, are few and far between. I think, if you even take that sort of stuff into consideration, it's on a case by case basis. No one-size-fits-all checklist or something.

I can see a LOT of good, very little bad(always some).

As for the actual article, while his methods aren't perhaps the way many would go, I commend a lot of what he said, and did. He even went through all the proper channels legally. Even though the judge on his case threw it out without even listening(which was over turned). If the city isn't going to take care of these properties they've condemned, why shouldn't they simply let others do so. The people who own(or at one time did and have clearly abandoned them) the houses don't seem to take issue with someone squatting, taking over the remodeling and trying to get utilities turned on(in their name, not the former owners name, even). How long does a city get to leave a building they consider "unsafe" before the city gets in trouble....oh, as long as they want apparently. At least SOMEONE wants to make use of the property rather than sitting there letting it rot. Who cares if their repairs are slow moving...they're moving and that's more than the city has done thus far. I could see being pissed if he was turning it into some drug house or something, but there's absolutely no evidence saying he would, much less that he did. SO I think those assumptions are over the top. A lot of cities are just like this one too, when it comes to abandoned property. If they don't have the financing to maintain these properties, but someone else does or will, I really think they ought to simply let them. It's not like the people squatting, or wanting to, are asking the city or the former owners to PAY for the remodeling or utilities, taxes and stuff.
The guy who was squatting actually already owns a house too, so it's not like he's just being some jerk who wants a house for free(well, who wouldn't want a house for free, if you could fix it up all by yourself, had the means and such, lol). He has a lot of merit to his argument, as would most, regardless of his past history. The argument itself and the entire issue itself, has merit and I believe is worthy of actually being explored in depth.

It's not as if squatter's rights is some foreign concept in this country, anyway. Though the actual laws seem to differ, the concept is pretty much the same.
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