CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s not exactly news the American dream of owning a home has become a nightmare for many, but what about those still dutifully paying their mortgage, only to have neighbors live rent-free?
It’s not legal in this case. We’re talking squatting.
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports on one man who said he’s gotten nowhere with the city, so he called CBS 2 for help.
T’Chaka Abdiraxman-Issa pointed out someone used a baseball bat to break a pane of glass on a door to his condo building at 7552 S. Essex Av., in order to get inside and squat in a vacant unit.
“Myself and a couple of the neighbors, we would just like to see this end before it really escalates to a … greater problem,” he said.
He said no one has helped put an end to it.
“Alderman’s office, police department, CAPS department, emails, phone calls,” he said.
When CBS 2 stopped by the building to check, someone was inside one of the empty condos, with the air conditioning on, even though the owners no longer occupy the unit.
The squatters even put down a doormat that says leave.
In another empty unit, music was playing, and the condo smelled like pot.
A young man who came out of the unit claimed he didn’t live there or sleep there, and was only getting a phone from inside. He denied smoking marijuana in the unit.
Abdiraxman-Issa said the young man stays with a friend in the building, but also uses the empty unit. He also said there’s definitely drug use in the unit.
“You don’t know what to expect, how many people are going to be in there. That’s one of the reasons why I would like for law enforcement to come in with me, to have some form of backup,” he said.
He said he no longer lets his kids play in the courtyard of the building, or elsewhere outside in the neighborhood.
“Not around here,” he said. “Not in this area. I drive elsewhere.”
He’s become so frustrated with the conditions, he’s looking for somewhere else to live, even if it means selling his home for a loss.
Abdiraxman-Issa said he called Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), who hasn’t responded to his requests for help. And he said police have responded to his calls, but done nothing to stop the squatters..
Neither Jackson’s office, the Police Department, nor the property manager returned calls for comment.
It’s not like there’s one person to blame for this. The owners of those units, in many cases, simply walked away from their homes.
Abdiraxman-Issa wants to know who will help those who have stayed.