Stealing homes

A story caught my eye on with the headline "activist moves homeless into foreclosures."

Expecting a real human interest story, I was appalled at the spin introduced in this story. Essentially, a man by the name of Max Rameau is helping homeless people break into and occupy foreclosed, vacant homes. And I guess he's not alone.

"We're matching homeless people with people-less homes," he said with a grin.

Rameau and a group of like-minded advocates formed Take Back the Land, which also helps the new "tenants" with secondhand 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?"

The adage of everyone deserving a home is what got the housing market in trouble in the first place. People who had no business owning a home, who were not responsible enough to make the payments, or did not have the means were given loans without much thought.

So we now just take the homes?

In early November, Rameau drove a woman and her 18-month old daughter to a ranch home on a quiet street lined with swaying tropical foliage. Marie Nadine Pierre, 39, has been sleeping at a shelter with her toddler. She said she had been homeless off and on for a year, after losing various jobs and getting evicted from several apartments.

"My heart is heavy. I've lived in a lot of different shelters, a lot of bad situations," Pierre said. "In my own home, I'm free. I'm a human being now."

Don't get me wrong. I feel compassion for people in bad situations. I have definitely been there (yes, homeless for a short time), but I worked my way out and so have thousands that have been much worse off than I.

When you steal something, it is not yours.

Banks better start reducing the prices and doing everything they can to move these homes. In the pacific northwest, banks don't seem to get the gravity of the situation and have over priced homes sitting on the market, or standing vacant, until the spring, hoping for a rebound.

If this attitude of entitlement spreads, I fear the worst. This will only continue to devalue property and punish those who do right while rewarding those who do wrong, a much too common occurrence nowadays.