Sunday, September 20, 2015

Detroit's Blight Creates Market for Squatters

By Tyler Cowen


Detroit’s Blight Creates Market for Squatters by Tyler Cowen

 The Detroit News reports:

Wanted: One good squatter.

It’s no joke. In a remote pocket of northwest Detroit along the Rouge River, neighbors are so desperate to stop a cycle of abandonment and blight they’re recruiting a squatter to occupy a home whose longtime owners left last weekend.

That’s because neighbors fear the onetime farmhouse on Puritan and Hazelton will be stripped and torched if it remains empty for long. Eight nearby houses burned in the past two years. A few blocks away, there are more weedy lots than homes.

A co-founder of one neighborhood group explained:

“You want someone in the house when it’s still functioning. Otherwise, it will be destroyed in 24 hours.”

In this case the homeowners are asking potential squatters for references, so as to avoid drug dealer squatters. How about some Syrian squatters?

Technically, squatting in Detroit is against the law, but it is often tolerated. But not all settlement attempts pass legal muster:

“The over-arching theme is that the city of Detroit does nothing, so we’re forced to do our own thing,” said Brown, 34, a Wayne County Community College professor.

Brown also made headlines last year. That’s when she and her husband, David, bought a $2,000 house in the neighborhood in hopes of forming a kibbutz, a Jewish communal settlement. City officials seized backyard goats and charged the couple with violating ordinances.

The full article is here, hat tip goes to a loyal MR reader.