Foreclosure Crisis Leaving Community Group Homeless

17 06 2008

Since 1992, the “recycled” house has been home to six young people, living in community – dividing up chores, holding biweekly house meetings, organizing community potlucks and parties. It has been a haven for college students trying to complete their theses, recent graduates making their way into the workforce, and others enjoying the “community” feel of the house. Known as “The 47th Street House”, this house has seen over 100 residents in the past 16 years, always full, with reasonable rent in this high-priced town and prospective roommates on a long waiting list. Residents work together to keep the house full of renters, the yard neat and clean, and everything in working order. “Living in this house has changed my life,” said resident Lynn Jacobsen, noting the sense of responsiblity and community living in the house entails.

In January, tenants were served with a lis pendens notice – the rent that they had been paying for the past 1 1/2 years to an absentee landlord had never been applied to the mortgage. The house was to be foreclosed. Right away, residents and friends organized. They secured a loan and got in contact with the bank in hopes of buying the house themselves. The only problem? The bank was virtually silent, would not return phone calls, and in the end, was not willing to sell.

The house will be up for auction at a foreclosure sale on Wednesday, June 18 at 8:30am. Current residents will be in attendence, with video cameras, as part of a documentary in remembrance of the house. Bidders would need to supply the full amount owed in cash at the time of the sale – no mortgages allowed.

This is just one example of effects of the nationwide foreclosure epidemic, which has hit Sarasota hard. If places like these which offer affordable rent are virtually inaccessible for purchase by “the little guy” then who does buy them? How can the cost stay down? And where do low income residents live in the meantime?

Contact: iggyspoon [at] gmail [dot] com




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