Right out of Zimbabwe

Marketplace: Miami’s homeless inhabit vacant homes
KAI RYSSDAL: We were talking around here today about how the sour economy is changing the way this country looks. There are more vacant storefronts or, in stores that are still open, huge signs practically begging customers to come in.

And it’s not just cities and businesses. Foreclosed houses are falling apart. Lawns are overgrown — the ones that aren’t dead because nobody’s watering them.

But in Miami, homeless activists are using those vacant homes to solve the problem of neglect — and to solve another problem too as Marketplace’s Dan Grech reports.

DAN GRECH: Marie Nadine Pierre is a 39-year-old mother of four. Today, she’s moving into a renovated three-bedroom house.

GRECH: Are you nervous?

MARIE NADINE PIERRE: Yeah.

She’s nervous because what she’s doing is illegal. Her new home, in a middle-class Miami neighborhood, is a foreclosure owned by a bank. By moving in, she could be arrested for trespassing, breaking and entering, possibly even burglary.

As I said back in November, only suckers pay their mortgage.