What Can Cities Do About 'Property Outlaws'?

More homeless people are squatting in abandoned suburban housing. Eduardo M. Peñalver, co-author of the forthcoming book "Property Outlaws" thinks cities should acquire these properties and allow the former owners to live in them as renters.

"As rising unemployment pushes more people out of their houses and apartments and growing numbers of Americans cannot find a place to perform these essential functions legally, they will have little choice but to break the law. And so some of them are turning to a strategy that has cropped up repeatedly in American history-squatting...As the current recession picks up speed, we are confronted with the ingredients for a squatting boom.

The difference between the 1970s and today is that the crisis last time was focused on the urban centers, while this time around the suburbs are the site of the greatest mismatch between people without homes and homes without occupants.

[A]n outbreak of squatting is a sign that governments should change their housing policies to make it easier for poor people to find the housing they need-as law-abiders instead of renegades...The sudden increase in squatting shows that the housing market that is out of kilter. The solution is not to chase squatters off, but to bring the market back into balance by helping them find a place to call home."

Full Story: Homesteaders in the Hood

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from five cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245