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Verina Hunter has lived at the corner of Cloverlawn and Schoolcraft in Detroit for more than 44 years, but parties held by squatters that moved into a vacant house next door are making her mad.Hunter told The Detroit News the group that took possession of her neighbours old house are so bold they have friends over and hang out on the front porch drinking and causing trouble. “It’s just bad,” she said.
She’s not alone in her opinion of Detroit’s suddenly surging squatters’ scene. With one in 339 homes foreclosed upon last year alone, the number of annual complaints against unauthorised occupants has tripled to nearly one a day.
Detroit has more than 100,000 vacant properties that where once people are in — it can take months to get them out — if anyone bothers to do it at all.
By Michigan law only the property owner has the right to challenge occupation of a structure and with the backlog of foreclosures, combined the uninterrupted flow of new vacancies, squatters are largely being left alone.
Residents say unauthorised dwellers range from parents with no other place to turn, to groups of young people and criminals, who shop the streets looking for the nicest place to party and live.
Some residents are grateful the homes are being kept from gross disrepair and stripped of materials, while others like Verina Hunter just want to live in peace.
Regardless, with winter coming and tens of thousands of homes empty, Detroit’s squatters aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.