A New York homeless advocacy group allegedly has been training homeless people how to squat in empty city properties, media outlets are reporting.
A board member with the nonprofit group, Picture the Homeless, is being accused of teaching at least 20 homeless people about â€œhomesteadingâ€ and occupying a vacant property permanently.
"The best properties are city-owned properties or bank-owned properties," one of the board members reportedly told the homeless group. "They warehouse these properties. They're sitting on them."
Squatting has been increasing in recent years, claiming more than 3 million Americansâ€™ homes who have defaulted on their loans, AOL Real Estate News reports. It has seemingly gained momentum from the Occupy Wall Street protests, in which protesters used squatting to protest foreclosures in its â€œOccupy Our Homesâ€ moement. A Texas man also brought more attention to squatting, when he blogged about his success in squatting in a $340,000 home for more than eight months. He was recently ordered to leave the property by a judge.
Source: â€œTax-Aided Nonprofit Reportedly Trains Homeless as Squatters,â€ AOL Real Estate (March 26, 2012) and â€œCity-Funded Activist Group Teaches Homeless how to Invade Apartments,â€ New York Post (March 25, 2012)