Shattered Dreams: Foreclosure Squatters

When Chris and Thelma DiMattio bought their new house in swanky Wilton, Connecticut a few months ago, they were thrilled. The longtime Wilton residents didn't have to uproot their family, and they got a really great deal on the home at a foreclosure auction.

They picked up their last house at a similar auction, and were excited to move into their new place. That is, until they actually got there- and realized the previous tenants were still living inside.

On the day a Connecticut state Marshall served the home with a final eviction notice, Chris DiMattio said, "essentially, we're paying taxes, insurance, and our first month's mortgage payment for someone else to live there."

The following week, the DiMattio's were able to move in to the house, which was littered with dog hair, garbage, some furniture, and even a few high school yearbooks. Apparently, the family didn't comply with any orders to leave until the last possible hour, when the Marshall showed up.

The Marshall said when he showed up at 9am, the man of the house was drunk and had a gun in front of him, but that nobody was hurt.

After all the added expense and the heartbreak of having to watch another family deal with losing their longtime home, Thelma doesn't know if she even wants to live in the new house. "It's kind of a spooky karma" DiMattio said. "Cause you had to get rid of someone and move them out of their home. It's not a fun event to do."

Thelma also said her young children have been very upset about the way things have gone, especially after their story showed up in the local paper after the DiMattio's called the police to report their unwanted tenants.

Squatters are often viewed negatively by their neighbors, but the National Coalition for the Homeless urges people to be more considerate, since it is so easy for regular folks to fall behind in this economy. "I think a lot of times people apply characteristics to these individuals as villains or people who are nefarious," said the National Coalition for the Homeless' President Neil Donovan. "I think these are just people who are in need."

One in every 139 housing units in the United States received a foreclosure notice in the 3rd quarter of 2010.