In Ocoee, Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports:
- Police think family members arrested at an Ocoee home this week are part of a network of squatters who live in houses facing foreclosure. Detectives are investigating whether three other houses in the city are occupied by people with no legal authority to be there, Ocoee police Sgt. Mike Bryant said. At least some of those residents are thought to be related, he said.
- A day-care center was being operated in one of the homes until the state Department of Children and Families shut it down in July. More people were suspected to be living in unsold town houses not long ago. These takeovers of empty homes have increased as foreclosures have skyrocketed, authorities said. In July, the Orlando area had the eighth-highest foreclosure activity in the nation. Florida has thousands of empty dwellings where the homeless can stay.
For more, see Cops: Vacant, foreclosed houses attract homeless squatters.