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Is Squatting in a Foreclosure Acceptable?

We caught an interesting story on our local news recently. Local homeless advocacy groups are helping homeless families squat in homes in foreclosure. The idea is basically, why should people be homeless when there are vacant homes available?

The groups locate homes in foreclosure, enter the home (most recently through a broken back door), then clean it up. Once it’s ready, they help the homeless family move in. Police are on hand, but only take action if a trespassing complaint is filed by the owners (in this case Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae).

Here is the rationale from the group “Take Back the Land”:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been given public money in order to finance their reckless spending, have been given public money for homes such as this one. This is not Fannie Mae’s house. This is not Freddie Mac’s house. This is public housing.

I’m not sure if this practice is widespread, but apparently it’s been going on for awhile here. Since foreclosures [1] can take over a year, the homeless family could have housing for a long time. Here’s the local story and video [2].

Locally, the biggest issue appears to be the liability exposure; a few owners asked the homeless families to leave because of the potential for a liability lawsuit.

What do you think? Is it acceptable for homeless families to squat in foreclosures?

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