In Miami, an anti-poverty activist group called Take Back The Land not
only matches up the homeless with empty properties but provides them
with second-hand furniture, cleaning supplies and gardening assistance.
Some property owners in Atlanta, where officials describe foreclosures
as an ?epidemic?, have gone so far as to pay homeless people to live in
their abandoned homes as a security measure.
Meanwhile, poverty campaigners in Cleveland, Ohio, are negotiating with
the city authorities to allow homes people to move into and repair
empty, dilapidated homes.
?We?re matching homeless people with people-less homes,? said Max Rameau, a co-founder of Take Back The Land.
?I think everyone deserves a home. Homeless people across the country
are squatting in empty homes. The question is: is this going to be done
out of desperation or with direction?? he said.
Florida, particularly the Miami area, has been one of the states hit
hardest in the US property downturn, largely due to over-building and
In September, an estimated one in 178 properties in the state was foreclosed – a proportion surpassed only by Nevada.
So far, Take Back The Land has moved six families into foreclosed homes and has nine on a waiting list.
The activity is illegal but has so far been ignored by police in a city
which is now offering loans of up to $7,500 (£5,000) to help homeowners