Squatting After the SHTF

Jarhead brought up one kind of alternate housing, let me run another by y’all that’s been knocking around in my head for awhile.  Squatting.  I’m sure we all know what it means, empty house + free rent.  But what would it mean in practical terms if we were looking at it from a SHTF Shelter point of view?

Vermin – I guarantee you’re going to be sharing that shelter, with all manner of vermin. Everything from lice to cockroaches to other squatters.  Some vermin are edible, so maybe that’s a plus in really desperate times.  In not so desperate times, it’s a negative, and something you’ll need to guard your food and clothing from.

Water Problems – Whether the utilities have been off for years and humidity has rotted the drywall, or a hole in the roof went unpatched, or a sump pump didn’t kick on for a couple of wet seasons, water is likely to be in all the wrong places.  You’ll likely not have running water either, so obtaining potable water could be a problem.  If you have allergies or asthma issues with mold, I can see that being a problem.    These kind of problems can crop up fast, I’ve heard some horror stories coming out of the foreclosure house mess. Banks owning more houses than they can care for and people opening up a literal can of worms when they go to check in on the property after a few months of inattention.

Speaking of homes – Isn’t that someone’s home you’re talking about squatting in Calamity?  Well, no not necessarily.  It could be a foreclosure property, owned by a bank or government entity. It could be owned by speculators who have no intention of coming back.  In the case of a SHTF event, maybe it’s property left by illness or famine, left by someone with no close heirs.  I’m certainly not advocating that you toss someone out of their house, or that you break into property that’s under ownership to a real person, or that you plan elaborate schemes about how to live a posh lifestyle of rent free bliss.   What I am saying is that current estimates put the empty house number at millions, some places like Detroit have 30,000 homes, vacant and mouldering.  I’m not sure it would be wrong to have people in need take shelter in them.  I know in the UK you can use Freedom of Information laws to request listings of empty buildings from local governments.  Whether that would hold up on this side of the pond, I don’t know.  But, it’s worth a thought.

What about heat/light/water? I hear some place you can just call the utility company and tell them you want utilities at X address in Bob Joe’s name and send them some money and you can have utilities.   Now, if there’s a deposit, and then something happens and you have to bug out, well that money is probably gone.  Putting utilities in your name, could give authorities a route to find your name and legal information. Paying for them could be problematic, depending on your work situation. So, maybe you should plan to do hobo rocket stoves and warm clothing.   That almost seems easier to me.   But, some people like their comforts. :-D

Keeping things easy and utility free also helps with security.  If the windows are already boarded up, that’s a plus, fewer people will even be able to tell you’re inside.  If you’re quiet and only in town for a few weeks for a job or whatever, it’s possible to go unnoticed.  Do any scouting with a clipboard and some sort of badge, so people think you’re with the bank or realtor or something.  Move in after dark, and leave for work before dawn every day, I think you’d have a good chance of not drawing attention to your squatting.

Just some thoughts.   If unemployment continues it’s upwards crawl, and if the foreclosure glut continues to sit on the market, I think we’ll see more and more of this kind of thing.   I would consider doing it in an emergency.  Would you?

– Calamity Jane

38 comments… add one
  • Odd Questioner October 18, 2011, 9:47 am

    Odd Thoughts…

    I suspect that post-SHTF would be the best time to do the squatting thing, though it does happen a *lot* these days…

    I have a younger relative who had done that for awhile, and many of his experiences involved squatting with other drug users. Some of what he noticed was…

    – It is often hard to get a vacant house to yourself. Users often flocked together, and if word got out about a house that no one paid attention to, it quickly filled by word-of-mouth.

    – Unless you found some way of locking things up, you pretty much left your stuff open for the taking while you were out. Anything you wanted to keep? you kept in a bus station locker, on your person, in your car, or kept very well hidden off the premises.

    – You ‘roommates’ are usually going to be unmitigated slobs, and will probably be very unsanitary at the same time. Expect to find moldering food, a non-running toilet jammed with things you don’t ever want to touch, things torn up / tossed about, and a general mess everywhere.

    – Always have two escape routes. If the neighbors call the police, you need more than one means to escape them if possible (you are committing the crime of trespass, after all). The clipboard idea and a semi-official outfit would help prevent the phone call from being made. Maybe even wear a clean(ish) hard-hat and a few tools while around the outside of the home.


    You are perfectly right about the mold thing, BTW. Here in Oregon it’s a huge problem, even in occupied houses. One leak in the roof, and you’ll have it.


    Post-SHTF, I suspect that I couldn’t care less about ownership, as long as the place isn’t occupied, and the neighbors are okay with it. It pays to know the area, but if you’re a refugee that’s not always going to be possible.

    I think that most folks have this over-played fantasy of finding an abandoned farmhouse and setting up shop (even serious shows like HI’s ‘After Armageddon’ can’t seem to avoid it), but odds are perfect those homes will be continuously occupied – if not by the original owners, then by other survivors.


    One aspect of squatting not covered is if, post-SHTF, you’re renting a place, bugging in, but obviously cannot pay the rent post-SHTF. Technically, that makes you a squatter, no? If the landlord is a private individual owner, he may decide to kick you out in favor of his own family, or maybe the family of one of his relatives. You may have to prepare for that. If the landlord is a company/corporation, you have more time, and possibly even wind up having it to yourself forever (depending on the severity of the S H’ing the F).

  • Prepared N.D. October 18, 2011, 10:38 am

    Squatting probably wouldn’t be accepted by the locals in my area. We have (or had) a few foreclosures in the area and the neighbors continued to mow the lawns and keep a watchful eye on the property well after the original owners were evicted. I think it boils down to respect – the original owners *might* be able to repurchase the house and return, so you take care of things for them until they return or a new owner moves in.

    If it were SHTF and you knew the neighbors well, they *might* let you stay. If you’re an outsider, I have a feeling you’re going to be met with a lot of opposition. Having some unknown squatters in the house next door doesn’t necessarily make you feel all warm and tingly on the inside.

    Would I squat? It depends. It would have to appear unoccupied for a while, reasonably secure, and there would have to be extreme circumstances (severe weather, destination unreachable/does not exist anymore). If I can’t meet that criteria, I’d rather build a primitive shelter in a wooded area.

  • Caoimhin October 18, 2011, 10:49 am

    Squatting takes forever to evict if you just record a deed at the county clerks office in your name. You will need the legal description but you can get it at the county assessors office. You can tie the property up in court for years. In a SHTF world civil court may move even slower. Same with rentals, when SHTF, record a deed in your name. No roommates and you can change the locks, do with the utilities as you wish. A small donation to the ruling party and DHS will be off your back. It won’t be Book Of Ely bad in a financial collapse. At least not for a few years.

  • GoneWithTheWind October 18, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I own a home and a cabin. From time to time I live in one and rent out the other. If the economy were to collapse it is likely that one of these homes would sit empty. If I thought someone was “squatting” in my home I would go their with my gun and remove them. My home, they are tresspassers even home invasion criminals and I would treat them as such. Maybe you could get away with this in Detroit or California but in most places in this country it is downright stupid to enter someone else’s home intending to stay and even destroy property.

  • Michael October 18, 2011, 12:48 pm

    We have whole subdivisions in the US where the builder went under and the loans used to build the homes were bundled and sold so many times that no one knows who owns the homes any more. We have people living in homes that they haven’t made a mortgage payment on in years. The banks don’t want to evict people, because that drives up the number defaulted loans they have and because there’s no one to by the houses anyway. It’s a mess and it’s going to get messier.

    I don’t see squatting as a legitimate or safe way to live and I see squatters as a threat we’ll have to deal with in the future. Hopefully, cities and counties can take ownership of abandoned home with squatters in them and knock them down.

    Check this out.
    “The numerous empty subdivisions in the area are the end result of the harsh economic times. They are also creating further hardships for Walton County officials.
    In an attempt to limit liability and responsibility for upkeep, the Walton County Board of Commissioners are taking steps to abandon the roads in two subdivisions — the first of about 20 the county intends to abandon roads to some degree.”

  • Michael October 18, 2011, 1:01 pm

    This article got me thinking the other day.

    WASHINGTON — With too few hands to pick the apples in Washington state, Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire says the farm labor shortage has prompted a crisis.
    In the Wenatchee Valley east of the Cascade Mountains, apple growers have posted their help-wanted signs across the countryside. And for the first time in years, growers in the state have launched a radio campaign, offering pay of $120 to $150 a day, but there have been few takers, much to the governor’s regret.
    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/10/15/1865615/heat-on-immigrants-makes-harvest.html#ixzz1b9ZUfsoB

    Rather than squatters, what about migrant workers? If you’re living out of a pickup camper with just health & car insurance and a cell phone for bills to pay $120 dollars will go a long way. There’s been a few articles in the news lately about farmers around the country having a hard time getting workers and I’ve been wondering if we’re going to see a new class of migrant workers pop up.

    • John D. October 18, 2011, 9:40 pm

      So let me get this straight, farmers are paying in Washington state, $120 to 150 a day ($600 to 750 a week) and no takers?
      What jobs are there around today that will even pay $400 to 500 a week for people who have been layed off? Nobody is hiring, unless you want to work at a fast food joint at minimun wage.
      UPS is laying off 50,000 workers this year.
      The US post office wants to lay off 150,000 workers this year.
      The banks want to lay off 50,000 to 150,000 employees this year.
      Each week one reads USA Today or wall Street Journal ,you read about some company or factory closing up and laying off all its employees.
      So the farm work would pay around $30 to 35,000 a year, and no takers? Unbelieveable.
      I guess people would rather remain unemployed and have no money to live on, or unless they wanted to collect welfare or disability payments.

      • Michael October 18, 2011, 10:03 pm

        Some of the locals in the apple growing areas see apple picking as “Mexican” work, but I’ve got to think that’s a small number of folks these days. I wonder how good of a job they’ve really done at getting the word out about this? Hell, I’m thinking about getting a few people together and making the drive over for the weekend. Getting paid $240 to pick apples (It’s hard work. I’ve done it before.) and camp out with friends for a weekend sounds pretty good to me.

        • Calamity Jane October 19, 2011, 9:32 am

          Swing through Iowa and I’ll send my husband with you. :-)

          • Michael October 19, 2011, 3:40 pm

            I <3 Iowa. I used to live in Dubuque.

          • Odd Questioner October 19, 2011, 9:47 pm

            Agreed with Michael… lovely place, just have no desire to live there.

            OTOH, there is this…


  • isurvivalskills October 18, 2011, 7:19 pm

    Unless the house is in a remote location, and reconnaissance of the house and surrounding area has been made, only then would considerations be made. Even then, it would only be utilized in sub zero temperatures if necessary. Its just far easier to remain mobile, stealth and on foot once you have acquired and honed specific skill sets.

    • SeeCue October 18, 2011, 9:38 pm

      I’m in GoneWithTheWind’s situation, cottages and home, and rarely more than one occupied at a time. Plans have been made to re-secure our premises if necessary. My house, so you play by my rules – even if you never get the chance to find out what those rules are. No doubt some of them would seem extremely harse, or at least very indiscriminate in their application. Hope nobody in their right mind would ever consider putting a minor child in a situation where indiscrimate use of deadly force might be considered necessary by the rightful owner of that property.

      I have a lot of problems with articles like this. Private property is just that, it belongs to somebody. And yes, that’s even if they aren’t using it at the time, or if the owner is a bank. This article is a great example of why I took down my “No Trespassing” signs and replaced them with “Do Not Enter” ones – because nobody (that ignored the signs) considered their own entry as trespassing. In their minds, they all had good reasons or pure motives so “trespasser” didn’t apply to them – just like it wouldn’t apply to the “squatters” here either I suppose.

      • Calamity Jane October 19, 2011, 9:49 am

        The private property thing, I admit, would give me pause. I’m pretty sure in most cases I’d choose to make shelter with what I have, or what I can forage. But if it was a subzero situation or an emergency, I’m pretty sure that would be enough to get me past the private property respect and into the house. I’ m one of those people that try to leave a place better than I found it, , and I know if situations were reversed and it was my property that I couldn’t get to for some reason , I’d be more ok with the emergency use, than I would with any other squatting. From your response I’m getting the feeling that you wouldn’t even be ok with the emergency kind of squatting.
        It’s always interesting to see the differences of opinion that come out with questions like these. Thanks for the comment.

        • SeeCue October 19, 2011, 12:59 pm

          The problem is that the owner won’t know their intentions, or the response he’ll receive from the squatters. Do you intend to put up a “emergency squatting, not stealing, will vacate when asked” sign on the house or something? Consider it from the owner’s standpoint – if someone(s) have already ignored no trespassing/do not enter signs placed by the owner previously, why should the owner expect them to obey his order to leave now?

          From the owner’s perspective, he’s in as much an emergency as you are from whatever hit the fan – plus he’s now a victim of a B&E of his premises, likely theft of his property, and facing an unknown number of trespassers with unknown motives. The house/property they’re squatting on may also have been designed or hardened for survival purposes. Are the squatters going to go quietly (with some charity from the owner perhaps), or put up resistance using the owners own resources against him? Is the owner really under any legal or moral obligation to put himself and his family at risk trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement with persons already known to have broken the law?

          This is really a dangerous situation all around. I personally couldn’t see finding anyone guilty of nearly any action they might take to secure their home from trespassers/burglers in a (true) SHTF setting, including using deadly force without any prior warning.

      • Odd Questioner October 19, 2011, 12:51 pm

        There is always the hazard of the owner coming back to take what is rightfully his or hers.

        OTOH, such a decision on my own part (to squat or not) would depend on how bad the fan got hit, and how much of a mess the world had become:

        * If it were some massive TEOTWAKWI event, then odds are very good that the rightful owner of an abandoned property is dead, or completely unable to return home – if you have needed skills or labor in such a world, the property’s neighbors would likely help you move in, if only to keep some criminal gang from taking up residence there. In this particular case, you’re not squatting, you’re probably moving in and calling it home.

        * If it were merely (heh) a collapse of government or such, then it would be tougher to do unless immediate physical survival demanded it. That would be the time to find out from neighbors and etc how they feel about it (without their buy-in, it just ain’t gonna happen).

        As far as temporary shelter? I think I would subscribe to the same code they actually did do this 100-150 years back out here in the Western US. It’s a pretty simple set of rules… If no one is home, you spend a night or two there, keep it scrupulously clean, replace anything you used (otherwise, don’t use it), take nothing that isn’t already yours, and leave a little gift of useful goods or a repaired item behind to thank the owner. You only stay as long as absolutely necessary before you move on, and for no longer.

        IMHO, the only time I would ever consider living in someone else’s home is if my own had been destroyed or has become untenable (due to violence, disease, whatever on that scale). In that case, I’ll do what I can, and would have a preference for taking up temporary residence in abandoned offices and such, if only to avoid coming across an irate homeowner.

        PS: something to consider:

        “My house, so you play by my rules – even if you never get the chance to find out what those rules are.”

        This is absolutely true. Just don’t forget that the polar opposite is true as well – that the occupants may well have their own plans to insure that you don’t remove them by violence, and you’ll never know what those are either (at least not with an attitude of retaking the house like it were a WWII machine-gun nest).

        I suggest (strongly) that if you find yourself going home and finding occupants there, that you gather your neighbors, surround the place, then talk the occupants into coming out. This does two good things: First, you can gauge who’s in there from your neighbors, and second, you get backup on claims of ownership. You’ll most likely save yourself a lot of bloodshed that way too, since the odds are good that the occupants will leave peacefully, especially if they see all the neighbors backing you up.

        • SeeCue October 19, 2011, 1:08 pm

          Everyone’s situation is different. One property I own has no neighbors within a 1/2 mile, and they are only part-time occupants as well. They may not be there to assist, or may be unwilling. As I said above, it’s a dangerous situation all around – but the trespassers provoked whatever happens. If they hadn’t broken the law (and the commandments of coveting and stealing) to begin with, whatever happens next wouldn’t have.

          • Odd Questioner October 19, 2011, 10:05 pm

            I think that even in your case, with distant neighbors, they’re rather likely going to be keeping an eye out on anyone who moves into your property that isn’t you.

            The point I’m getting at is to try and get some sort of intel on the situation, and let your neighbors know what’s going on. Lots of good reasons why, too:

            – If you charge in with guns blazing (or try and sneak up on the place), the squatters may well have a sentry out, and they may see you first and take you out, if nor no other reason than not knowing who you are, let alone why you’re there.

            – Your neighbors, if they see you heading in all quiet and armed, may mistake you for a raiding party and attack you.

            – The squatters may be related to a neighbor, and going all Rambo on the squatters may start a feud with the neighbors that you do not want.

            Long story short? I’ve learned a very long time ago (courtesy of the US military) that there is a whole lot more to assault than merely doing it. If you want to survive and overcome, you must know what it is you’re getting into first. Anything else (that doesn’t involve tossing a large bomb) is just a quick and easy way to get yourself killed.

        • Michael October 19, 2011, 3:43 pm

          “There is always the hazard of the owner coming back to take what is rightfully his or hers.”

          Right now we have literarily thousands of homes in the US where there’s no way to establish who the rightful owner is and if you could figure it out, they don’t want it because they’re in default.

          I really think this lack of clear cut ownership is going to be a big problem in the future.

          • Odd Questioner October 20, 2011, 12:32 am

            You have an excellent point, but I suspect that in most cases, if someone has been living there for awhile, they’re probably going to be the rightful owner, post-collapse.

            The rest will eventually just have to be sorted…

        • izzy October 29, 2011, 1:13 am

          OddQuestioner is right – this still holds true in Alaska, where keeping an unoccupied building locked up tight is tantamount to willful murder. And generally it works just fine. People (who aren’t usually drug addicts!) respect the property of others, and gratefully leave a note.

          I’m with you, Calamity – most foreclosed homes have no “owner”, just a bank that doesn’t want to negotiate with the former and true owner, doesn’t want to rent it out to anyone, and doesn’t want to sell it for a less-inflated price. So banks just let houses sit and fall into ruin, so that only the criminally insane dare to enter.

          Meanwhile, the fruit from some little old (homeless) lady’s apple tree falls into the yard and rots & attracts vermin… but if their neighbors try to clean it up, and eat up the fruit as God intended, hey, that rotten fruit is the BANK’s property and they’re “stealing” it!

          • Izzy October 29, 2011, 2:03 am

            follow-up: As others have said, it all boils down to need, respect, and ASKING. Read above NYT article when it first came out – since then article comments have been posted, and it turns out one of the homes was in fact occupied! and the residents wondered where all their tomatoes were going… interesting reading.
            Personally I have never had anything picked in the city. Kind of wish people would be a little more opportunistic sometimes – I am asked for “change for food” and when I show them there’s blackberries and apples in the park I just get blank looks…

  • millenniumfly October 19, 2011, 9:45 am

    Besides having a roof over your head you’re probably putting yourself in a worse situation given all the reasons you stated. Thus, I would only consider this as a very temporary idea in order to get to a better shelter.

    • Calamity Jane October 19, 2011, 9:52 am

      I know! I finished the post, and I was like, hmm.. I don’t think I do the right drugs to make squatting comfortable. It would have to be a emergency, or perhaps a case where I was a renter (as I am now) and honestly unsure of who owned the house after some sort of economic collapse. I don’t think I could feel comfortable or safe in a rotting home, or with unstable “roomates.” Give me a tent or a burrow or a tarp and fire. :-)

  • eddy 153 October 19, 2011, 3:57 pm

    you all talk as you know what it is to be homeless or are to good to know what it is or feels like. when shtf hits you all will feel diffent. many will have no choice but to find some where to live or die. it all about survival, so think out side the the box and be open minded and prepare your mind for what to come cause you never know. it’s ok to see thing diffent now from your warm home or pass judgment. it use to be the usa dream to own your home but do you, what will you do when the world as you know it changs and you left with out a job or a home to call your’s do you just give up. i’m not saiding it ok to live in some one else home but when the going get hard the hard get going. i own my home and work hard to keep it with my family. i own a construction co and must said it’s hard now then ever before to proive for my love one’s. so if the shtf hit’s i will be moveing in to your home cause it’s call survival of the fittest. plus what are you going to do kill a family trying to stay warm over a home that wasn’t never your but the banks. are you going to be able to live with your self knowing that you kill a family over land. do you think god would kill you if you move in this house and didn’t ask or will he welcome you in with open arms.

    • Odd Questioner October 19, 2011, 10:30 pm

      That’s likely going to be the thing. If the world goes splat, there’s likely gonna be a lot of folks who won’t have a warm place to sleep.

      I do agree that one shouldn’t pass immediate judgement – once collapse happens, the rules go out the window. If a refugee family arrives, and the house next door is empty, they’re welcome to it. As long as they keep it reasonably clean, and behave as an ordinary member of the community, they can be a valuable addition to it. It means one less house that I’d have to keep an eye on for potential trouble. It means more hands to accomplish a job (digging a well, weeding large gardens, etc). It means more kids to date and marry the other kids in the community. It means extra help in defending the community…

      …things that the legal owner isn’t doing if he’s not around.

      OTOH, you do have the sticky situation of the legal owner/resident/whoever showing up and wanting what’s his.

      What to do about that? I suggest talking about it. If the community is worth a damn, the squatters would have been at least somewhat vetted as decent folk in a bad spot, or they would have been thrown out.

      If the property is isolated, out in the sticks? Dunno what to say, but it’s a long ways to the nearest doctor, and either side of it stands an equal chance of getting wounded/shot/whatever. May make more sense for the owner to get a damned good recon on, then talk if at all possible (it may not be). If the squatters (out in the sticks, that is) are a well-armed gang that isn’t leaving (or perhaps a military squad or platoon using it as a base camp)? It may be a hint for the owner to leave the place alone until he can get reinforcements, or wait it out until the current occupants leave on their own.

      The collapse is going to change a lot of rules. The only hope of surviving isn’t necessary how many supplies you have, how good you are with a firearm, or in how badassed you are. It all involves how well you use that 3-lb lump of neuron-rich fat between your ears.

  • SeeCue October 19, 2011, 8:26 pm

    Not to sound uncaring eddy because I find no joy in somebody
    else’s pain, but your survival plan and lack of respect for
    the rights of others makes a perfect example of what I’m talking about: You own a construction company, but would rather steal someone else’s shelter than make your own.

    If you can do no better, then squat on public land. Cut some trees, make a tipi (think I saw a article about that somewhere recently?).

    • Odd Questioner October 19, 2011, 10:49 pm

      I don’t think it’s a question of bad planning…

      Think about this.

      You could have an absolutely perfect bug-out location.

      …and it could disappear in an earthquake, volcano, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, a military deciding to use it as a base camp (seizing it as a “necessity”), used/abused/destroyed by a gang of raiders long before you make it there, whatever.

      Or, you could be traveling, far away from home, and find your home sweet home on the other side of the continent, and you with no way to get there except by foot.

      Or, your sweet little doomsday ranch could be locked off as part of a quarantine zone.

      Or, the damned thing could just catch fire after an unknown crack in the fireplace or chimney overheats the nearest supporting structure…

      …and suddenly it’s you looking for a warm and dry place to sack-out for more than a night, in the dead of winter.

      You cannot tell me with a straight face that you’re going to just shrug your shoulders and improvise a tipi in the sticks.

      • SeeCue October 20, 2011, 8:50 am

        I’ve planned for that scenario O.Q., thrice-deep at least in most cases. I’d beg for charity or head for the nearest FEMA camp before I’d steal. You can try to rename it, think they’re somehow entitled to it, that it won’t hurt anybody, or otherwise rationalize it – but it’s taking what isn’t yours and its called “stealing”. Two things I can’t stand are liars and thieves.

        Been doing the survival thing a long time, early 80’s. Skipped on “keeping up with the Jones'”, expensive cars/vacations, big house, fancy toys, to make sure I could provide my family the necessities of life (with extra for my friends, and still more for charity). If my plans are all wrong, or if I screw-up, then maybe
        we die. OK. Happens to people every day, even to survivalists
        with the best laid plans and with tons of stuff still stashed. My desire to live longer in this world doesn’t give me the right to take anything from anybody else.

        I’m not holier-than-thou, and I don’t have any Rambo fantasies – but I have been called a hard-nose, and I certainly have no patience for BS. I know I’m not alone in that regard. If there’s a collapse of law and order, I’m not going to take any risks when dealing with criminals. I know what’s mine and what isn’t – thieves beware.

        • Odd Questioner October 20, 2011, 10:36 am

          I agree with the concept of property rights. No doubt about that. If I’m a squatting refugee and the owner of the joint shows up, the place is his upon confirmation of ownership, and I’ll figure something else out.

          I am working to insure that such a situation never happens. OTOH, I know full well that it is quite possible. Knowing this, I can put myself in someone else’s shoes, and be a bit more merciful about it. If it were my property and someone were squatting in it post-collapse, I’d do exactly as I described – get hold of the neighbors and find out what’s going on, then try for the peaceful option with neighbors in tow. I am certain that in such a situation, no sane refugee is going to take on what they perceive as a whole community standing against them. Odds are perfect that they will pack up their possessions and leave, perhaps to another abandoned house nearby.

          Now if the squatters decide that possession is 9/10ths of the law and all that, then I’ll work on a more forceful eviction, and given my own history in neighbor relations, I can be reasonably sure of having backup when I do it. But note that it is not until they are given the peaceful option and refuse it, do I start breaking out the weapons and planning an assault.

          The world may lose civilization, but that does not mean that you get to lose civility in the process.

          So, why? Well, desperation post-collapse means that perfectly moral and law-abiding people are going to do immoral and illegal things just to survive. You yourself may well find yourself doing things you consider immoral/illegal/whatever in order to feed your kids, no? Even seemingly innocuous things are crimes: Poaching is illegal. Taking food from a grocery store dumpster is technically theft of private property, as is taking an apple from a nearby orchard, or an onion from a nearby field.

          Post-collapse, you may find yourself doing these things. I know full well that the majority of humanity is going to do that and worse. Does that make them criminals? Maybe, but I prefer to temper the labeling with at least some sort of humanity.

          PS: FEMA camps? That’s just a fancy word for death trap. :/

      • eddy 153 October 20, 2011, 9:08 am

        that what i’m talk about ppl act like the grass is all ways greener on the other with. at time ppl get so in to their live as they live it that they for get about survival how many ppl use survival on a daily base.

    • eddy 153 October 20, 2011, 9:16 am

      my lack of respect will go out the window when shtf cums i be acting like the father that i’m and be keeping my family warm. what do you think that in the wild the animals ask each other for their survival. i’m a good man and do have respect now for other, but when shtf hits i be acting on my survival mind and will be willing to help the needy.

  • eddy 153 October 20, 2011, 9:42 am

    seecue look it’s like this only the strong survive as for the one’s not build for the wild they don’t make it. i’m all for a person hard work and having respect for other ppl thing’s. but you living for now and not for whats to cum look do you realy think your going to ask for food when your love one hadn’t eat for days. look we must all under stand one thing the world under a war all over with ppl dieing and kids going with out to father and mother thinking about how they going to provide for their love one. all over in the world the poor stay poor at time dieing cause no food or a house to keep them warm. i been working hard all my life and pay for every thing i have but will give it all up to see a family be warm. we all just need to under stand that we got it good now but it’s not going to always look this way as for the one that are to hard headed may the lord be with you. how many of you have ever seen a baby or a love one die due to not having. start perpareing now or u going to find that you just now know what it is not to have.

  • SeeCue October 21, 2011, 9:04 pm

    I’ll say this before I go back to lurking.

    If you have to take from others to survive, you’ve failed as a survivalist.

    Ask for help. There’s lots of people that would try to provide it. Good people will respect you for asking, and not just taking. Nobody’s perfect, and anybody can need help sometimes. Bring something to the party, hard-work or skills maybe, and you might even be welcomed, instead of given some charity and sent away as useless.

    • T.R. November 1, 2011, 1:16 am


  • Adam October 22, 2011, 8:55 pm

    Would I squat if I had to post SHTF? Yes. Is it my first option? No it is not. It’s not even the second or third one. And while I like the debate between SeeCue, Odd Questioner and Eddy, I’m going to have to side with OD. I have strong morals and do not like liars or thieves either. Is going into someone else’s house a B&E? Yes it is.

    But if it is freezing to death or breaking into a house for some shelter, I’m breaking in. I know everyone I work with would do the same thing. Anyone who says they wouldn’t is either so stubborn they would rather die or just plain old naive. People will do so many things they would have never done before the SHTF that when they look back on it, they will shudder. You can stand there and say that you will never do anything wrong in order to survive, but I doubt you’d be able to survive without doing something or taking something that wasn’t yours.

  • SeeCue October 24, 2011, 11:04 am

    OK, one more ;)

    I agree with many of both Eddy’s and OQ’s comments, and Adam’s, too.

    Details can’t be made clear, but maybe this will help with where I’m coming from…

    It may be difficult to tell friend from foe post-SHTF. It will be more difficult when good people are doing ‘bad’ things. The deadly force line, or rules of engagement, might be very different if law and order break down. In a choatic world, what one person may see a need to take to survive, another may see the need to kill to keep for their own survival.

    Maybe this analogy might help. Would you shoot somebody for attempting to steal your car? Would you shoot somebody for attempting to steal your car if your baby was in the back seat (whether or not you believed they knew that)? Not a perfect analogy, but still.

    As I said, a very dangerous situation. It’s not like MZB’s are all required to wear black hats so we can ID them easy. Just because you might think nobody is around or will know, doesn’t necessarily mean that nobody is around or will know.

  • Izzy October 29, 2011, 1:28 am

    I find it interesting that some people label spending the night in an unoccupied home in an extreme emergency as a sin – but they have no problem begging handouts from people who are trying to survive in the area, or from the government. ‘Cause meanwhile I know people who are proud of never using gov’t welfare, and would never beg for charity – but are proud of offering food and shelter to anyone who comes by, regardless of circumstances.

    To each their own, I guess. In the end, it all boils down to respect.


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