Adopt-a-Dump: Minneapolis Wants Your Help

by Alex Stenback on February 22, 2008

From the Strib:

With the number of boarded homes increasing because of foreclosures, Minneapolis city leaders are encouraging neighbors and block clubs to "adopt" a vacant property on their block.

It is incredibly difficult to restrain our sarcastic streak here, so we’ll just say: Good Luck!
City Asks People to Adopt Vacant Houses [Strib]

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Johnny Northside February 23, 2008 at 11:32 am

The article says the city is asking people to “call 911″ if they see individuals inside the buildings who don’t belong.

That’s so funny, because a few months ago I was looking at a house at 2125 Lyndale Ave. N. which not only was being used by a squatter, but the squatter kept repeatedly kicking in the front door to the point the real estate company had stopped replacing the locks. Stuff was left inside by the squatter, including sleeping bag, cigs, and a bus transfer that was quite recent.

I ran into some police at the GIGANTIC liquor store which dominates the corner of Lyndale Ave. N. and W. Broadway, and I tried to make a report about the squatter. They flat out told me that unless I had some property interest in the house, they weren’t going to take my report of somebody trespassing at the house or go there that night to check.

That night, I called the non-emergency number and made a report. They took my report and promised to do something, like go by there and check on the property that night. But I went back a few nights later and guess what? Nothing had changed, except the cigs were used up and the bedding had been rearranged.

I called some social worker using a business card left in the squatter’s pile of stuff, somebody who did homeless outreach. They were very helpful and promised to go to the house and talk to the person. The house was going to be sold to me or somebody else very soon, since there were multiple offers, so it didn’t make a good “squat” anymore.

I also left a note addressed to the squatter and physically moved their belongings downstairs next to the door.

But when I read this stuff in the Trib article about how people are supposed to call 911 (get serious! Call the non-emergency number, people) and something will be done about squatters breaking into houses on the North Side…ha, my direct experience tells me otherwise.

The folks at “Windy Top” can say what they want, but down at “Foggy Bottom” where the policy has to be implemented, the police have much better things to do. I just wish one of those things was busting the “open air drug markets” that are present on so many corners on the North Side for example, along Penn Ave. N. in the Jordan neighborhood.

Keep restraining your sarcasm, Alex. And let me add, in the words of a police officer who patrols the North Side, “Ha, good luck with that.”

Johnny Northside February 23, 2008 at 11:33 am

The article says the city is asking people to “call 911″ if they see individuals inside the buildings who don’t belong.

That’s so funny, because a few months ago I was looking at a house at 2125 Lyndale Ave. N. which not only was being used by a squatter, but the squatter kept repeatedly kicking in the front door to the point the real estate company had stopped replacing the locks. Stuff was left inside by the squatter, including sleeping bag, cigs, and a bus transfer that was quite recent.

I ran into some police at the GIGANTIC liquor store which dominates the corner of Lyndale Ave. N. and W. Broadway, and I tried to make a report about the squatter. They flat out told me that unless I had some property interest in the house, they weren’t going to take my report of somebody trespassing at the house or go there that night to check.

That night, I called the non-emergency number and made a report. They took my report and promised to do something, like go by there and check on the property that night. But I went back a few nights later and guess what? Nothing had changed, except the cigs were used up and the bedding had been rearranged.

I called some social worker using a business card left in the squatter’s pile of stuff, somebody who did homeless outreach. They were very helpful and promised to go to the house and talk to the person. The house was going to be sold to me or somebody else very soon, since there were multiple offers, so it didn’t make a good “squat” anymore.

I also left a note addressed to the squatter and physically moved their belongings downstairs next to the door.

But when I read this stuff in the Trib article about how people are supposed to call 911 (get serious! Call the non-emergency number, people) and something will be done about squatters breaking into houses on the North Side…ha, my direct experience tells me otherwise.

The folks at “Windy Top” can say what they want, but down at “Foggy Bottom” where the policy has to be implemented, the police have much better things to do. I just wish one of those things was busting the “open air drug markets” that are present on so many corners on the North Side for example, along Penn Ave. N. in the Jordan neighborhood.

Keep restraining your sarcasm, Alex. And let me add, in the words of a police officer who patrols the North Side, “Ha, good luck with that.”

Nate February 23, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Johnny,

That’s an excellent story. I can add my own recent experience as well.

My wife and I live in Steven’s Square. Much like the “open air drug markets” of North Side, the parking lot at Hennepin and Groveland does a similar active business.

We recently had a neighbor in our building start sharing his apartment with drug dealers. Within days, people were trying to buzz into the building (to get past the security door) at all hours, we would see deals being made in the hallways, and find people passed out on the stairs. We also started having numerous fire alarms caused by smoke from their apartment.

Working with police and the apartment management (who was quite active in helping, including hiring security guards) it still took months to get this guy evicted. After he was evicted, people he had “borrowed” keys to, continued to squat in the apartment, and that took additional weeks to deal with, involving numerous calls to police.

My wife and I have been looking in the North East area for homes, and one of my major concerns is with the numerous foreclosures and squatters. My experience is similar to yours and I have no end of skepticism about this plan.

Johnny Northside February 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Another thing I’d like to add, though it may be slightly off topic. I just put an offer down on a house on the North Side, and I told my real estate agent to add the following contingency:

-
Buyer may withdraw offer prior to closing if the Minneapolis City Council changes the vacant house fee prior to closing to any amount over the current $2,000.
—-

I don’t think I need to get into the reasons for this very much. The proposal to increase the vacant house fee to $6,000 is beyond crazy. These North Side properties aren’t moving NOW, so what happens when the fee gets increased to–in some cases–half the list price? Crazy piled on crazy, with half a gallon of crazy syrup poured on top.

Alexis February 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Wa-ha-ha-ha! Oh sure, they’ll get right on that.

Johnny Northside February 26, 2008 at 10:58 pm

By this you mean it would take a long time to pass the new fee…because it takes them forever to do most things…so I’m really in no danger of closing before that happens?

Dave The Brave March 4, 2008 at 7:35 pm

The city was quick to pass that $6000 fee. They want to suck up all that property on the North Side to build massive low-income housing high rises funded by city taxes – sales and property taxes going up 100% – got to love this city.

Johnny Northside March 12, 2008 at 11:20 pm

I seriously think the banks will get together and fight the legality of that massive fee. That is just wrong. I don’t love banks at all, but that is just wrong.

Johnny Appleseed May 28, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Fuck you all. Not all squatters are violent drug addicts or dealers. Some just want a place to lay their heads and sleep without worry of someone ripping off their stuff at night. Everyone is entitled to a home and if no one is using it and they aren’t harming anyone then what is the big deal? It’s obvious that most people on this board have never been at “rock-bottom” and thus will probably never understand the hardships faced by most other people in the world. On out of every seven people worldwide is a squatter. read a book for christ’s sake

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