They may lack heat and a consistent water supply, but the vacant dwellings aren’t as ‘depressing,’ as one New York mother puts it. Advocates say the number of squatters nationwide is rising.
By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times | December 21, 2011, 4:09 p.m.
Reporting from New York— Slips of paper are pasted to the broken door of the corner row house, violations for the garbage piled near the front steps. The stench of trash wafts up the dark interior stairway, where an ashtray filled with cigarette butts sits like an abandoned potted plant on the second-floor landing.
Nobody lives here, at least not officially.
But as you climb the narrow stairs to the top floor, a door opens into an airy apartment that is home to Tasha Glasgow, who is part of a largely invisible population of squatters occupying vacant homes across America. Given their clandestine lives, it’s impossible to say how many people are squatting in this country, but with more than 1.3 million homes in foreclosure and hundreds of thousands of people homeless, advocates say it’s safe to assume the number is growing.
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