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caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 4:12 PM

TAKE BACK THE LAND

Florida ranks second in home foreclosures-especially high in South Florida. An organization calling itself "take Back the Land" has started eying the foerclosure lists and scoping out neighborhoods. When they find a home that has been vacant for a bit and not too vandalized, they break in, fix it up, give homeless family a set of keys, and put the utilities in the family's name. The family lives there with no rent and only has to pay the utilities and keep up the property so the neighbors don't complain. They say they screen these people and make sure they are not criminals or going to use the home for any drug or other illegal activities. They say they have placed 6 families and have 9 waiting. The city of Miami knows about it but says they can't/won't do anything about it unless a complaint is filed. The banks have so many and in most cases are far removed from the neighborhoods. The neighbors actually approve of them as it keeps the property from being used as some sort of drug or sex house. Both the organization and the people living there know that what they are doing is illegal and if they are asked to leave they will have to do that-this far none have been asked to do that. The organization says they are helping to solve the homeless problem and allowing these families to get back on their feet so they can afford to pay their own way. I honestly believe this is a "bailout" that I can support although if it were my house I had lost that they were using admit I might not feel that way. Am interested in your thoughts-in particular yours, TSK. Know as an attorney you could not condone illegal behavior but your humanitarian views make me think that your nonattorney self might like it -Linda

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 4:33 PM

And the family that lost the house through non-payment and then foreclosure lives where.........?

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 5:32 PM

I said in my statement that if it were my home that I had lost and folks were "squatting" there, I would more than likely be very angry and upset. However, the homes unfortunately for the original owners are sitting empty and are easy prey for vandalism an all kinds of unsavory activity. Believe this to be the lesser of evils kind of thing-Linda Ideally the organization would have come to the aid of the original homeowner but seems that is not their function.

mplaw51
Mplaw51  (Level: 179.5 - Posts: 1582)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 6:42 PM

On the face of it so much seems wrong and so much seems right. If the folks who lost their house are homeless, why can't they be contacted to move in and get back on their feet in what used to be theirs?
It protects the house from going into further decline and from vandalism as well; I get that. I'm just not sure that people who are only paying utilities are going to be all that careful with something they have no stake in as a homeowner might.
I suspect this will blow up in someone's face at some point...

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 7:02 PM

Maureen, most likely it will. According to the organization the screening is very meticulous and the 6 families now living there are actively seeking work in a poor market and taking good care of the properties. It is definitely an ethics issue as it is innately not fair to the original homeowner but helpful to a struggling homeless family who is trying to succeed within a system that sucks. I am a human being and believe that bailouts should not happen-financial, auto, or anywhere. This thing is on a small personal level though and something I can get my mind around. The bailout numbers both those given and to come I cannot To me it is similar to putting some money in the bucket of the Salvation Army-hear now even they are accepting credit card-wouldn't go there-Linda

mplaw51
Mplaw51  (Level: 179.5 - Posts: 1582)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 8:23 PM

Well, for sure we are going to be seeing things that we've never witnessed before. This may just be the first in a long line of seemingly unorthodox "bailouts".
There's nothing new under the sun.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 13th Dec '08 9:37 PM

Reading Maureen's post made me think. Many of us haven't seen things bad in the US - but our parents did. Theirs was the last generation in America to handpick and chop cotton. They sewed their own clothes, mended their own shoes - sometimes wore shoes that didn't match and were very glad to get them. They lived through the true Great Depression. And they did so without electricity, TVs, running water, indoor toilets, computers, refrigerators and ice, air conditioners, massaging chairs. And yet they thought of those days as the happiest in their lives.

We're so spoiled. I'm glad their generation invented and gave America the basis of all the things that do spoil us today. People have lost houses and made good and bad financial decisions throughout the ages. They have learned from their mistakes and become stronger (or at least didn't make those same mistakes again, hopefully). Or they lived in a rental.

The Constitution didn't guarantee us happiness. It just gives us the right to pursue it. All of us need a "time out" in the corner once in awhile so we can, without distraction, think about what we've done, and what we need to do differently in the future to prevent a mess up. We should have the right to learn from our mistakes and failures and weaknesses.


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