Thursday, September 17, 2015

Detroit neighborhood seeks squatters

Stripped bathroom in the
Grixdale neighborhood
This is an only-in-Detroit story.

From the Detroit News:
Wanted: One good squatter.

It’s no joke. In a remote pocket of northwest Detroit along the Rouge River, neighbors are so desperate to stop a cycle of abandonment and blight they’re recruiting a squatter to occupy a home whose longtime owners left last weekend.

That's because neighbors fear the onetime farmhouse on Puritan and Hazelton will be stripped and torched if it remains empty for long. Eight nearby houses burned in the past two years. A few blocks away, there are more weedy lots than homes.

"We want squatters. There's so much abandonment here, we need them to turn the neighborhood around," said Jennifer Mergos, 33, co-founder of the Northwest Brightmoor Renaissance neighborhood group.
Yes, squatting is illegal in Detroit. But stripping--then torching--a home is a sad Motor City tradition. On the other hand, Mergos' group mows the lawns and on their own boards up abandoned homes--they're not bad people.

UPDATE September 20: A married gay couple, James and Theodore Washington, although they are not technically squatters, have moved into the old farm house.

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