Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

People-less Homes Need People Too

I was wondering when this was going to happen. From today's Johnson City Press:
MIAMI — Max Rameau delivers his sales pitch like a pro. “All tile floor!” he says during a recent showing. “And the living room, wow! It has great blinds.” But in nearly every other respect, he is unlike any real estate agent you’ve ever met. He is unshaven, drives a beat-up car and wears grungy cut-off sweat pants. He also breaks into the homes he shows. And his clients don’t have a dime for a down payment. Rameau is an activist who has been executing a bailout plan of his own around Miami’s empty streets: He is helping homeless people illegally move into foreclosed homes. “We’re matching homeless people with people-less homes,” he said with a grin.

Now this is the kind of Robin Hood love that needs to happen so Americans can start getting their priorities straight. Check this.

Rameau and a group of like-minded advocates formed Take Back the Land, which also helps the new “tenants” with second hand furniture, cleaning supplies and yard upkeep. So far, he has moved six families into foreclosed homes and has nine on a waiting list.

“I think everyone deserves a home,” said Rameau, who said he takes no money from his work with the homeless. “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?”

With the housing market collapsing, squatting in foreclosed homes is believed to be on the rise around the country. But squatters usually move in on their own, at night, when no one is watching.
Rarely is the phenomenon as organized as Rameau’s effort to “liberate” foreclosed homes.

Florida — especially the Miami area, with its once-booming condo market — is one of the hardest-hit states in the housing crisis, largely because of overbuilding and speculation. In September, Florida had the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate, with one out of every 178 homes in default, according to Realty Trac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties.
Only Nevada’s rate was higher.

Like other cities, Miami is trying to ease the problem. Officials launched a foreclosure prevention program to help homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage, with loans of up to
$7,500 per household.

The city also recently passed an ordinance requiring owners of abandoned homes — whether an individual or bank — to register those properties with the city so police can better monitor them.
Take ten minutes to watch this documentary of what this is about:

Speaking of homelessness, the author of this blog contacted me and said, "Give me some link!" You got it, my friend.

This is Kevin Barbieux, The Homeless Guy, whose homeless home is Nashville. He blogs about what life is like being homeless.

I am chronically homeless, having experienced several episodes of homelessness since the age of 21 - spending about half my adult life on the streets. On this blog I write about my experiences, and my opinions and knowledge of homeless life. You can email me at thehomelessguy (At) gmail dot com.
Folks, it is nearer than you think.


  1. 1 out of 178 homes in foreclosure. If that is not a crime against humanity, I don't know what is. About 15 years ago, when the Mall of America opened, I predicted that, in 50 years, it would be the nation's largest homeless shelter. We have about 35 years left to see if that prophecy is fulfilled. I do hope I'm proven humiliatingly wrong.

  2. Snad - the only 'crime against humanity' here is the one we perpetrated against outside our means, buying more house than we can afford, being willing (in order to make a sale) to lend more money than we should to someone, knowing all the while their financial records show they can't afford it. We are ALL at fault - people blame 'greedy banks and corporations'...well, here's a news flash: those banks and corps are made up of people - every day people, like you and I, so people should quit with the conspiracy theories. Yes, it is true, the top management should have been tighter on the reigns of lending, and they got greedy, so they didn't - but not all of them - there are plenty of banks and corps out there who stayed true to proper lending standards and they will survive this - are they guilty in your eyes as well???....the age-old advice is still sound and solid for a reason: because it works!:save money and live within your means. Our culture has turned into an 'I want everything and I want it right now' culture and we are paying the price for it as a culture. Our great-grandparents literally thought debt was a sin, our grandparents thought it was fooligh, our parents though it was necessary for something important like a house... however WE, as a generation, finance EVERYTHING!! - from houses all the way down to the 6 buck lunch you put on your credit card...what is happening now is the price we pay as a nation for the life we have been trying to live...people now try to acquire in 5 years what it took their parents to acquire in 30, and life just doesn't work that way! reap what you sow - individually AND as a nation.

  3. Kent, I waste no time on conspiracy theories.

    The 3rd Reich was made up of "just people" too.

    Maximum short term profits at the expense of one out of 178 families IS a crime against all of us, unless you are perhaps one of the few hedge fund managers who still has a portfolio worth managing.

    As for the "Poor people should quit whining and trying to live the American dream regardless of how long or how deeply it has been stuffed down their throats" mantra, here's an article that may interest you:

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.