City asks citizens to "adopt" vacant houses.
(Photo, above, by David Joles was part of the Star
StarTribune links are such a pain in the butt, because usually you
get the "suscribe" page instead of the article. Most people will
just give up. I wish newspapers were smarter than this, but many of
Alex Stenback of Behind The Mortgage dot com calls this
program "Adopt A Dump." Here are the comments I
added to Alex Stenback's posting on the subject:
The article says the city is asking people to "call 911" if they see individuals inside the buildings who don't belong.
That's so funny, because a few months ago I was looking at a house at 2125 Lyndale Ave. N. which not only was being used by a squatter, but the squatter kept repeatedly kicking in the front door to the point the real estate company had stopped replacing the locks. Stuff was left inside by the squatter, including sleeping bag, cigs, and a bus transfer that was quite recent.
I ran into some police at the GIGANTIC liquor store which dominates the corner of Lyndale Ave. N. and W. Broadway, and I tried to make a report about the squatter. They flat out told me that unless I had some property interest in the house, they weren't going to take my report of somebody trespassing at the house or go there that night to check.
That night, I called the non-emergency number and made a report. They took my report and promised to do something, like go by there and check on the property that night. But I went back a few nights later and guess what? Nothing had changed, except the cigs were used up and the bedding had been rearranged.
I called some social worker using a business card left in the squatter's pile of stuff, somebody who did homeless outreach. They were very helpful and promised to go to the house and talk to the person. The house was going to be sold to me or somebody else very soon, since there were multiple offers, so it didn't make a good "squat" anymore.
I also left a note addressed to the squatter and physically moved their belongings downstairs next to the door.
But when I read this stuff in the Trib article about how people are supposed to call 911 (get serious! Call the non-emergency number, people) and something will be done about squatters breaking into houses on the North Side...ha, my direct experience tells me otherwise.
The folks at "Windy Top" can say what they want, but down at "Foggy Bottom" where the policy has to be implemented, the police have much better things to do. I just wish one of those things was busting the "open air drug markets" that are present on so many corners on the North Side for example, along Penn Ave. N. in the Jordan neighborhood.
Keep restraining your sarcasm, Alex. And let me add, in the words of a police officer who patrols the North Side, "Ha, good luck with that."