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“Freegan” Squatters Helping Stabilize Buffalo Neighborhood

30 June 2010 No Comment

There’s a group of young people living in a boarded-up mansion in Buffalo.

They don’t pay rent. In fact, they try to avoid using money altogether.

This group is part of an ideology known as Freeganism. They live lives of scavengers, convinced that society wastes too much.

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What better place, then, than Buffalo, with its surfeit housing stock?

“It has a beautiful backyard with a lot of blackberry bushes!” a young resident tells the New York Times. With a handful of other misfits, Kit lives in the three-story house, which boasts 1,224 square feet on the first floor alone.

In the warmer months, travelers from around the world call the house home. The handful of permanent residents welcomes visitors, provided they help with the upkeep.

According to the Times, this group has earned the blessing of their neighbors and even a local judge.

The article explains a local judge was alerted to the squatters presence and he was considering placing the hosue in receivership, when he was approached by some neighbors at a baseball game.

“To the judge’s astonishment, the neighbors praised the young people, saying that they had kept the thieves, drug dealers and arsonists away. What’s more, they attested, the squatters were fixing up the place, making it less of an eyesore. Their presence, and the fact that the mansion was now occupied, had made it easier for people on the block to get homeowners’ insurance.”

-AS