Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finally, A Good Real Estate Deal: putting the homeless In foreclosed homes

A brilliant program from a Miami group vets homeless families and then moves them into foreclosed housing. The program is, at least technically, illegal. But no arrests have been made, and it seems a clearheaded way to prevent neighborhood deterioration while getting families desperate for housing into high-quality homes. FOXNews (yes, that Fox News) has the details.

"We're matching homeless people with people-less homes," Max Rameau, who heads Take Back the Land, the group organizing the move, told the Associated Press in a recent story. Rameau also has a blog at

From an anonymous comment on one of my previous posts, I see that Miami New Times broke the story last month.

(Mea culpa: I was in Lagos, Nigeria when the anonymous poster sent me the New Times story, and I only just got around to following up on this.)


utopia or bust said...

This is great. What if the people who lived in the home became homeless after the foreclosure of their home... shouldn't they just stay there?

Couldn't we reach a point where we decide not to evict anybody from their homes?

(btw, this is "acumensch" I just changed my account name).

rn said...

De.B (a.k.a. 'Mensch): Fair point. Sadly, the TBTL squatters are benefiting from someone else's eviction. And, yes, we should decide that no one should be evited from their home.

On this, however, the MSM would complain that I'm not objective, as my landlord has filed to evict me, claiming he wants my apartment for his kid.

Tom Ratzloff said...

Hi Robert,
I realize that you're a busy globetrotter, but please keep the Squatter City posts coming. You're doing noble work.

As a recently laid-off journalist, I'm exploring the world of social networking and have posted a story that you might find interesting. It's about a "shack city" that sprang up on the grounds of a Minnesota state hospital where I formerly worked. If you or your readers are curious, the url is:

Thanks and keep sending, OK?

rn said...

Thanks for the kind words, Tom. And thanks for the link to your terrific blog post about therapeutic self-building. It's great recovered history.

Laura said...


One week back in the U.S. and I too just found out about Take Back the Land. Don't you love it?!

Leaving the decidedly more active housing movement in São Paulo has left me looking for but largely not finding groups doing this type of direct citizen mobilizing and property occupation. Though hopefully this will spread to the Midwest.

Hope you are well! I will write you more extensively soon. I just wanted to respond to the TBtL post.

Hope your work on the informal economy is kickin' a**.

Laura T

Maria said...

I like it. It's something I wonder doesn't happen everywhere, particularly with the huge abandoned housing districts in so many midwestern downtowns.

But what I like the most is that the neighbors know exactly what is going on, and they aren't saying anything! That suggests that somehow America is beginning to understand and accept that need is more important than greed. I wonder, perhaps, if there are relationships that could be made on the streets and sideyards so that even if the squatters were evicted, they wouldn't need to worry so for their children and their life--isn't that what neighbors and friends are for?

rn said...

Yes, Maria, that the neighbors haven't ratted these people out does give me some hope. Unfortunately, most of the stories I am reading these days are like this one from Minnesota:

It's time for municipalities to develop policies that welcome squatter entry if it's done in a structured and sensible way through groups like Take Back the Land.

Otherwise, cities pay big bucks for law enforcement to keep homes vacant and ultimately, as is the case in a number of cities in the rust belt, wind up demolishing many homes that could easily be saved.

Anonymous said...

We at Negros Island Real Estate venture in this project, not that we like to be part of the 11,000,200 sites about Philippine Real Estate (Google, june 14 2007)or the 2,610,000 sites of Yahoo.

We know for a fact that thru the Internet there is a huge number of potential buyers, OFW, Expats, Retirees who have a hard time to search and find Real Property.
Look at our recent list of real estate inquiries

Anonymous said...

This is very informative post. Strict regulation policy should observed ; meticulous handpick of your real estate developer next time.

Anonymous said...

Real estate development authorities have the jurisdiction on this .A decent home should have been provided;home,it's essential for people to have one especially vets.