Do squatters help or hurt challenged neighborhoods?

Once I was hanging out with a group of friends and I told what I considered to be a "would-you-believe?"--type story about a guy I know closely and personally.  He saw a vacant/foreclosed house in a nearby suburb, committed an unauthorized entry, and started to fix it with the intention of moving his family in.  While he was in the process, the most recent owner who the bank had just seized the house from happened to pass by and asked my aquaintance what he was doing.  My "friend" told this former owner he was planning to move his family in.

The foreclosed owner reported the illegal access to local authorities who kicked out the new "residents" and made sure the property got secured to prevent re-entry by any unauthorized persons.  The most surprising part to me was when the enterprising "finder" told me how pissed off  he was at the former owner for reporting him.  He bemoaned the lost money and time he spent improving the property.

My reason for re-telling the story to my companions was to ask them "Would you believe some people's logic and reasoning??!I could not fathom why the "finder" would think he was entitled to invite himself into a piece of property which didn't belong to him and take ownership.  In addition, I didn't understand how he couldn't understand why this wouldn't bother the former owner.  The poor guy who had just gone through the financial and emotional devastation (not to mention likely years of blood, sweat and tears trying to hold on to the place) of losing the home.

I thought my friends and I would all laugh about it and go on to talk about something else.  The reaction I actually received couldn't be further from what I expected.  While I was already surprised to hear the initial 1st person account told to me by someone I know, I was even more amazed when I relayed the story and a group of people from an unrelated section of my social circle agreed with that guy's side.

I share more about this in the next post.

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