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Squatting in Foreclosed Homes: Criminal or Commendable?

Somehow it seems appropriate to make more than one civil disobedience post on Good Friday. Today, The New York Times reports on the trend of homeless people squatting, both covertly and openly, in vacant, foreclosed homes. A snippet: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. Along those same lines, here's a look at a slightly old but very relevant video (co-produced by Joseph Huff-Hannon, a GOOD contributor, and Jacque Servin of Yes Men notoriety) that documents and celebrates ACORN's nationwide Home Defender campaign, an ongoing effort to keep victims of predatory lending from being evicted from foreclosed homes.[vimeo][/vimeo]I get emotional when I see this sort of thing. It seems abundantly clear to me that, given the nature of the lending that's gone on the past few years, people in need should be allowed to stay in their homes-at the very least, if a family is homeless and a foreclosed unit is empty, the solution seems simple. Of course, things are rarely that simple. And there are many people who would argue against squatting on the basis of both legality and some seemingly sound principles. Where do you stand?Photo by Flickr user JacobRuff.

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