How we might salve two open wounds by applying them to each other…
To the Honorable Aldermen and Mayor of the Great City of Chicago
June 20, 2017
How can we morally as a civil society allow these two images to exist side-by-side?
An open proposal for the establishment of the
“Chicago Homeless Housesitter Program”
In the interest of addressing two of the most important issues facing our inner city communities 1) homes left vacant and unsupervised by banks after foreclosure and 2) rising homelessness amongst Chicago’s poor and minority residents, we propose this “Chicago Homeless Housesitter” Program (CHH).
It is well known that banks frequently leave homes vacant and uncared for after foreclosures, leaving a blight on the community and creating havens for drug dealers, prostitutes and other criminals. The sheer number of homes left in this state has made it unmanageable for real estate service companies to timely control, supervise or maintain these properties, leaving them open to unqualified squatters with no concern for their upkeep and possible added dangers to their neighbors, and a drain on our Police.
It is also well known that Chicago’s poor and minority citizens have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, leaving them to rely heavily on the welfare infrastructure of the city, county and state, which is already stressed to the breaking point by lack of funding and facilities to accommodate these displaced Chicagoans. Many are good families with no history of abuse or gangs, and are employed, yet under employed so that they are caught between opportunity to rebuild their lives and the adequate resources to accomplish it.
While some may consider this proposal a violation of property rights against the banks to do as they see fit with the property they now control, it is well established that according to Chicago zoning laws established by this council to protect the community at large from property owners who by act or neglect, put their neighbors and community at large at unnecessary or statutory risk, that it is well within the legal authority for this Council to establish further zoning laws and ordinances which better defend the community against such risks.
The banks may choose if they would like to participate in this program, or would rather have us determine that the property is abandoned and just take it under our own zoning foreclosure action, or perhaps eminent domain.🙂
Housesitters will be selected from applicants. Applicants will supply details, waivers, acknowledgments and affidavits as determined by this Council. The status of “Housesitter” is not a right, but rather a privilege bestowed upon the party by this Council with consent of the bank/owner. The entire program will be funded by the bank/owner.
The selected “Housesitter” will be paid $1,000 per month by the bank for their service. The selected “Housesitter” will be responsible for establishing accounts with the local utility providers and maintain the property with such care as one who was the owner. If the selected “Housesitter” has difficulty in establishing accounts with said providers because of past credit problems, the City of Chicago will guarantee the account(s). This will allow the “Housesitter” the opportunity to reestablish their public credit record, and prepare themselves for their return to the status of a valued citizen/taxpayer, and maybe even homeowner again.
The bank will be responsible for material upkeep for safety and usability of the property (roof, exterior, plumbing, heating/cooling devices, driveway concrete, fences, stairs, etc.).
There will be stringent rules, including random inspections by the City of Chicago Public Health Dept. or Police Dept. to confirm and assure that no illicit activity (drugs, gangs, abuse, etc.) is occurring within the property. Housesitter’s failure to report a crime within 24 hours observed or known to have occurred on the property is also a violation of the terms. Mandatory active participation in the local CAPS organization is required. Any violation of the rules will result in immediate removal from the property (pending one binding, non-appealable administrative hearing).
Upon such time that the bank/owner has arranged for the sale or transfer of the property to an innocent third party purchaser which will occupy the property as their primary residence, such bank/owner will notice the “Housesitter” by personal service that they have 90 days to relocate to another place of residence. If said bank/owner has another available property qualified to House sit, Housesitter will be given priority status to relocate to such property, with transfer of utility accounts being guaranteed.
Housesitter has no right of claim to reimbursement or payment for any improvements left behind (including gardens and their fruits) on any property, but are free to take with any such non-affixed appurtenance.
Obviously, many more considerations might be construed such as the homeless elderly on Social Security, the partially handicapped, etc. However, while this is not a fully vetted proposal, I believe this is enough of a starting point to stimulate your legislative creativity as to how such a program might work for the City of Chicago and its citizens/victims of “The Great Collapse”, and yes, even the banks who contributed to the mess. Please embrace this program as an additional leg upon which we might stand to help put Chicago back on track with being the greatest city in America, again.
I leave it in your and God’s hands. Please let me know if I can help.
Note to readers: Feel free to forward to anyone you think can help make a difference.
Opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the position of The Gallant Goose & Friends.
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