My blog on Christiania got me to thinking. Could old people, who need a place to live, social contacts and help, follow the example of the squatters in Copenhagen and take over (or, buy cheaply) abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools and homes to use in their declining years.
Could they take an abandoned prison used only for tours and convert it into living space for seniors using grants obtained under the Older Americans’ Act?
Or perhaps, old people could become ex-pats and get an abandoned United States facility in the Panama Canal Zone, even though title is now in Panama:
I think that most people my age (76) remember the 60’s and whether or not they participated, were influenced by the 60’s. Now that we are old, maybe it is time we applied a few hippie tricks; such as living in abandoned properties. Old people are heading toward homelessness in a big way; but, some of us still have a few tricks up our sleeves.
In Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan, there are whole blocks of abandoned houses, owned by FHA, et al. Across the country you can find prisons, schools, military facilities, and government buildings, sitting empty because they have outlived their usefulness. To me they are an opportunity. If Detroit or Buffalo doesn’t appeal, try abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools and government buildings in any state. Take a look at: Abandoned Schools for Sale.
I am not advocating squatting, although it may come to that. I am advocating approaching the government and offering to take over these facilities for the benefit of old people. A block of empty homes in Detroit might be taken over for a $1 a house; redone with grants pursuant to the Older Americans’ Act, helped along by AmeriCorps – Vista, and funded by seniors’ Social Security Payments.
A block of abandoned houses could have a police satellite station on one corner, a Senior Clinic, meals-on- wheels, and a senior center on the other corners. In addition, there could be a central courtyard; safe, and social. Since old people are naturally snoopy they would watch the street all the time.
Be sure that some of the old people are young enough and competent enough to organize this.
Maybe we need the Gray Panthers!