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More Squatters Call Foreclosures Home

From an exultant New York Times:

More Squatters Are Calling Foreclosures Home


April 10, 2009

MIAMI — 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.

We’re seeing sheriffs’ departments who are reluctant to move fast on foreclosures or evictions,” said Bill Faith, director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, which is not engaged in squatting. “They’re up to their eyeballs in this stuff. Everyone’s overwhelmed.”

On a recent afternoon, Ms. Omega sat on the tiled floor of her unfurnished living room and described plans to use the space to tie-dye clothing and sell it on the Internet, hoping to save some money before she is inevitably forced to leave.

“It’s a beautiful castle, and it’s temporary for me,” she said, “and if I can be here 24 hours, I’m thankful.” In the meantime, she said, she has instructed her adult son not to make noise, to be a good neighbor.

In Minnesota, a group called the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign recently moved families into 13 empty homes; in Philadelphia, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union maintains seven “human rights houses” shared by 13 families. Cheri Honkala, who is the national organizer for the Minnesota group and was homeless herself once, likened the group’s work to “a modern-day underground railroad,” and said squatters could last up to a year in a house before eviction.

Other groups, including Women in Transition in Louisville, Ky., are looking for properties to occupy, especially as they become frustrated with the lack of affordable housing and the oversupply of empty homes.

Anita Beaty, executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, said her group had been looking into asking banks to give it abandoned buildings to renovate and occupy legally. Ms. Honkala, who was a squatter in the 1980s, said the biggest difference now was that the neighbors were often more supportive. “People who used to say, ‘That’s breaking the law,’ now that they’re living on a block with three or four empty houses, they’re very interested in helping out, bringing over mattresses or food for the families,” she said.

Ben Burton, executive director of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, said squatting was still relatively rare in the city.

But Take Back the Land has had to compete with less organized squatters, said Max Rameau, the group’s director.

“We had a move-in that we were going to do one day at noon,” he said. “At 10 o’clock in the morning, I went over to the house just to make sure everything was O.K., and squatters took over our squat. Then we went to another place nearby, and squatters were in that place also.”

Mr. Rameau said his group differed from ad hoc squatters by operating openly, screening potential residents for mental illness and drug addiction, and requiring that they earn “sweat equity” by cleaning or doing repairs around the house and that they keep up with the utility bills.

“We change the locks,” he said. “We pull up with a truck and move in through the front door. The families get a key to the front door.” Most of the houses are in poor neighborhoods, where the neighbors are less likely to object.

Kelly Penton, director of communications for the City of Miami, said police officers needed a signed affidavit from a property’s owner — usually a bank — to evict squatters. Representatives from the city’s homeless assistance program then help the squatters find shelter.

To find properties, Mr. Rameau and his colleagues check foreclosure listings, then scout out the houses for damage. On a recent afternoon, Mr. Rameau walked around to the unlocked metal gate of an abandoned bungalow in the Liberty City neighborhood.

“Let the record reflect that there was no lock on the door,” Mr. Rameau said. “I’m not breaking in.”

Inside, the wiring and sinks had been stripped out, and there was a pile of ashes on the linoleum floor where someone had burned a telephone book — probably during a cold spell the previous week, Mr. Rameau said.

“Two or three weeks ago, this house was in good condition,” Mr. Rameau said. “Now we wouldn’t move a family in here.”

So far the group has moved 10 families into empty houses, and Mr. Rameau said the group could not afford to help any more people. “It costs us $200 per move-in,” he said.

Mary Trody hopes not to leave again. On Feb. 20, Ms. Trody and her family of 12 — including her mother, siblings and children — were evicted from their modest blue house northwest of the city, which the family had lived in for 22 years, because her mother had not paid the mortgage.

After a weekend of sleeping in a paneled truck, however, the family, with the help of Take Back the Land, moved back in.

“This home is what you call a real home,” Ms. Trody said. “We had all family events — Christmas parties, deaths, funerals, weddings — all in this house.”

On a splendid Florida afternoon, Ms. Trody’s dog played in the water from a hose on the front lawn. The house had mattresses on the floors, but most belongings were in storage, in case they had to leave again.

“I don’t think it’s fair living in a house and not paying,” Ms. Trody said.

She said the mortgage lender had offered the family $1,500 to leave but was unwilling to negotiate minimal payments that would allow them to stay. She said she and her husband had been looking for work since he lost his delivery job with The Miami Herald.

In the meantime, she said, “I still got knots in my stomach, because I don’t know when they’re going to come yank it back from me, when they’re going to put me back on the streets.”

The block was dotted with foreclosed homes.

Three of her neighbors said they knew she was squatting and supported her. One is Joanna Jean Pierre, 32, who affectionately refers to Ms. Trody as Momma.

Ms. Pierre said Ms. Trody was a good neighbor and should be let alone. “That’s her house,” Ms. Pierre said. “She should be here.”

Ms. Trody said that living here before, “I felt secure; I felt this is my home.”

“This is where I know I’m safe,” she added. “Now it’s like, this is a stranger. What’s going to happen?”

Even without furniture or homey touches, she talked about the house as if it were a member of her family.

“I know it’s not permanently, but we still have these couple days left,” she said. “It’s like a person that you’re losing, and you know you still have a few more days with them.”

This is the Cloward-Piven strategy in action. These groups are out to overwhelm the system.

And speaking of Cloward-Piven, isn’t it funny how the New York Times does not see fit to mention Cloward-Piven’s foremost organization, ACORN, in this entire article.

We already know that ACORN (a 501c3 taxpayer supported “charity”) has been training these squatters to take these kind of actions.

We suspect that ACORN is heavily involved in all of these purportedly “grassroots” organizations that just happen to be springing up like mushrooms all over the country.

For the record, here is the “mission statement” of Take Back The Land:

Mission of Take Back the Land


People of African descent have been systematically denied control of land in their communities – from slavery to sharecropping to segregation to the current gentrification and displacement of our communities.

Elected officials and high ranking bureaucrats have sold out the black community in favor of enriching already wealthy and politically connected developers.

We assert our right to the land in our community and to use public space for the public good – specifically, to house, feed and provide community space for the poor, particularly in low income black communities. As such, we are Taking Back the Land and empowering the black community, not the politicians, to determine how to use land for the benefit of the community.

Our struggle is fundamentally one of land, and control over that land. We take inspiration from and support our sisters and brothers across the globe engaged in similar struggles for control over land for the benefit of the people.


Take Back the Land pursues three core political objectives:

First, feed and house people. Taking control of land to feed and house those impacted by the crisis of gentrification and low-income housing is the ultimate in public space for public good.

As such, the Umoja Village provides free food and modest housing for 50 people. While the housing is not “up to code,” it is far better than conditions under local bridges and even some of the nearby slum housing. We strive to consistently improve conditions and the quality of life on the land, including regular delivery of food and other goods, as well as upgrading housing and amenities.

Second, assert our right to control the land in our community. This movement is not fundamentally about homelessness or even housing: it is about land. We contend that the land in the black community is not the domain of wealthy developers or the politicians who do their bidding. The land belongs to the people in the black community. As such, the people have the right to control the land and its uses.

Instead of giveaways to wealthy developers to build high cost, high profit condos which do not serve the needs of the community, the land on which the Umoja Village sits is used to benefit the community. Particularly during land related crisis, such as gentrification and housing, public land should not be used for the enrichment of wealthy, politically connected interests. Instead, the land must be used to solve problems to the benefit of the community. Our communities must determine its own priorities and the appropriate use of land in accordance with those priorities.

Third, build a new society. Instead of replicating the power and social relationships of the broader society in a smaller setting, we build a new society in which people relate to one another differently and the power to make decisions about the Village is centered on them, not the politicians.

While critics charge we are anti-development, nothing could be further from the truth. However, development is not about buildings, technology and the latest consumer products. Development is fundamentally about human beings. The building of structures without the development of human beings is nothing more than a profit making venture, something not worthy of the social status attached to “development” projects.

Is this not just about word for what what ACORN espouses?

Zimbabwe, here we come.

But these people are heading down a dangerous path.

If the people who actually built this country and make it work get the notion of taking back the land into their heads, who knows where things might end up.

It certainly won’t be good for folks like Queen Omega.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 10th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

26 Responses to “More Squatters Call Foreclosures Home”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Well, we’ll have to see if the police will step up and enforce the law. Imagine if some white people moved in and see how quickly the response would take.

    This whole “just take it” attitude is what is wrong with so much of that culture. Yes, they see people living, working, achievig all around them…but the only part they really see is that they make money to afford a home, a car, etc. Then they get the warped notion that somehow, be it because of slavery from 150 years ago, or that they’re just simply lazy good-for-nothings and therefore, poor, they are somehow entitled to something they haven’t earned.

    Well, I still hope, but really don’t expect, that there will be any reports of this in the regular news, or that prominent party leaders will stand up and point it out and cry foul.

    As a side note, I have heard Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh talk about these things but I don’t see any MSM factions calling them racists. So, perhaps the fear on the part of those who SHOULD be pointing out these illegal acts is unfounded and can proceed properly.

  2. catie says:

    The inmates run the asylum now. Why do we bother going to work? What’s the point? Why bother when Queen Omega and her brood will take up housing wherever they want.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    This is nothing more than allowing / permitting lawlessness!!

    One look at the picture posted above shows first hand the problem that the Afros have made for themselves. “NO FATHER(s)” to be found in said picture!! No doubt that Queen Fatass is a criminal and teaching her chillins’ that it’s ok to break the law whenever or where ever you want.

    This problem is tame in comparision to the “Illegal” CRIMINAL PROBLEM STRANGLING OUR COUNTRY!
    First we take care of the illegals, then we can take care of our own!!

  4. curvyred says:

    They are criminals – plain and simple. They have no right to be there and should be arrested for trespassing.

  5. proreason says:

    The backlash is coming and it will be ugly.

    • catie says:

      I am also getting fed up and it gets worse everyday. This is incredibly childish but I’ve started flipping off every clown with an obummer sticker on it and if I happen to be passing while they’re getting out of their cars I ask how that hope and change is working out. They’re usually stupefied that someone would question their “choice”. It should be interesting to see if the tax day party get togethers will be well attended. I have to take my son to pre-school and then be home by 3:30 so I will take my little sign up on the main drag by where I live and have my own little tea party.

    • DGA says:

      Catie, I’ve been flipping off obummer sticker cars as well, and give them no breaks at all in traffic. Screw them all.

    • catie says:

      DGA, I’m glad I’m not the only who does this. I also don’t give them breaks in traffic either.

  6. Yarddog1 says:

    Pro – you are correct. Personally, I am sick of this crap. If someone is too damn lazy to do anything for themselves, they can starve. These types are going to mess with the wrong people some day and all hell is going to break loose.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Yarddog: this is what four decades of The Great Society hath wrought. Squalor and sloth.

  7. jrmcdonald says:

    Do you think she is claiming her internet income and that house on her welfare profile?

  8. Colonel1961 says:

    Be nice! She’s a Queen!

  9. Colonel1961 says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa – he said he changed the lock and then said there was no lock. I guess he meant he ‘installed’ a lock. Of course the idea that these houses were not locked in some fashion is crap…

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Locks only keep “HONEST” people honest!!!

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Thank goodness they’re only stealing a house – Heaven help them if they purchased a pure-bred dog like the Biden’s, and had to say Novenas to PETA, et al. It’s the only time I’ve ever had any compassion for ‘Plugs’.

      And, I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming – all this crap cannot really be happening, can it?

  10. “We had a move-in that we were going to do one day at noon,” he said. “At 10 o’clock in the morning, I went over to the house just to make sure everything was O.K., and squatters took over our squat. Then we went to another place nearby, and squatters were in that place also.”

    I must say I openly guffawed… but here is the deal..

    there IS a solution to all of this.. Eliminate minimum wage. Allow work farms and work shelters to propagate where folks need shelter. Let them WORK their way out of trouble.. The current laws do not allow the necessary creativity to give prospective bosses creativity.

    • proreason says:



      You have quite a sense of humor there, JG. Quite a sense of humor.

    • You like that huh?

      I’m Opening in five cities soon.. all at once. Gallagher LOOK OUT!! oh wait.. that isn’t one I want to follow up any time soon..

  11. Squito says:

    For a second, I thought this was a joke (“Queen Omega”?) but our country is lacking in sane people and there’s not a can of Raid big enough to deal with these parasites.

    Let the fattie starve. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. (Or that’s how it should be.)

  12. canary says:

    Our struggle is fundamentally one of land, and control over that land. We take inspiration from and support our sisters and brothers across the globe engaged in similar struggles for control over land for the benefit of the people.

    ????…support across the globe for control of land. Hey nothing wrong if these people want to go back to Africa and say this was once our land and we want it back. Go for it.

    “Let the record reflect that there was no lock on the door,” Mr. Rameau said. “I’m not breaking in.”

    No idiot, you are just taking captive and stealing the entire house.

  13. oldswimcoach says:

    We make a lot of noise about freedom of speech, but property rights are really the foundation of a free society. This is a direct attack on the foundation of our freedom as a nation and needs to be stopped, not exalted in the press as another “alternative” to meet housing needs of those who breed (as opposed to form and raise families) and are unwilling or unable to earn the housing they determine they deserve.

  14. imnewatthis says:

    Zimbabwe is exactly what I was thinking, too.
    Mary Trody has a family of twelve including mom and sibs. Are we two believe there aren’t a few of these twelve folks who are capable of working? Because if there are, they ought to be able to pool their money in order to rent or buy some digs for the whole bunch.

    • GL0120 says:

      Work, pool their money and rent or buy?
      Whatever for when they can simply find a nice place and take it over.
      To paraphrase Leona Helmsley – Paying is for the little people.

    • caligirl9 says:

      Work is a four-letter word.
      Some people don’t like to utter four-letter words.
      Especially that one LOL
      I agree, among a group of 12 people, there must be a couple of them capable of some sort of work…

  15. proreason says:

    Tea Party slogans:

    – Billions for national defense. Not one cent for Class Warfare
    – I’ve seen the enemy, and it’s Big Government
    – Obamiot! When will you slam America’s Work Ethic?
    – 3 generations busted in 85 days
    – Holding a job would have taught you about taxes, Mr. President
    – Bow to the citizens, not foreign leaders
    – Stop the War on Productivity NOW
    – Uphold the Constitution, not “Rules for Radicals”
    – Now we know what you meant by “being in the enemy camp”
    – We wanted a leader, not a spendaholic
    – I’m still waiting for a poor man to give me a job
    – Me – laid off. Obama – on vacation.
    – Is there anything about my country you like, Obama?
    – What about Trillion $ deficits don’t you understand
    – My child, unsustainably in debt before pre-school
    – We don’t want to be like Cuba
    – When will you set my salary, Mr. President?
    – Can one of your cooks loan me some $ for my car payment?

  16. proreason says:

    Dick Morris nails it again. “The Anti-Success Presidency”

    Money quote:

    “For decades, astute observers of national welfare policy warned of the perversity of the incentives that kept the poor on welfare and discouraged them from taking jobs. Employment meant that their slightly higher income would be more than offset by the loss of other benefits like food stamps, day care, rent supplements and Medicaid. Work didn’t pay.

    Now Obama is applying the same crazy policies to the upper end of the economic spectrum.”


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