Heidi Peterson says that she was away from her home for a year but found another woman living there upon her return. That woman, Tracey Elaine Blair, has been living there for several months, according to neighbor’s accounts.
Peterson says that Blair believes her home is part of a special program through which people can claim houses, fix them up and keep them. The woman, by law, cannot be removed by force until Peterson goes through the court system to prove that she actually owns the home. And, because she spent all of her money on the house, she is forced to share it with Blair. In fact, they sleep just feet away from each other in separate rooms.
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Obviously, Peterson doesn’t feel secure.
“I thought if the house is not safe, how can I come here with my child? There’s an issue with that. But should I lose my house to a squatter because I don’t have rights to my property or should I fight to get it back,” said Peterson.
Though Blair told Fox 2 that she’s no squatter.
In fact, the house is documented with Blair’s photos and other personal items. One says that she is a write-in candidate for president. Another is a certificate stating that she is a missionary. Just before Fox 2 ran her story, Blair drove up to, well, her home and told the reporter that the house is hers.
Her is more of what she told Fox 2:
“I have a construction lien for the repairs that I put into the house. Someone had (broken) into the house on July the Fourth and they stripped the radiators and I made a report,” she added.
“In February 2011, we had to vacate because the boiler was damaged,” she continued. “I took all my books and my writings, but my (furniture was) still left in (there).”
We also asked her whether she thinks there is a program where anybody can go into Detroit, take over an abandoned house and live there.
“I’m an advocate for affordable housing. That’s a part of my campaign,” she said. “I’ve believed that since the first time I met her when I was running for state Senate (in) 2010 and she was also running for a political office, that was a part of my belief. I signed an oath pledging that I would fight for affordable homes.”
Fox 2 reports that Peterson leased the home to several tenants, including Blair, back in 2010. However, she had to evict everyone because the home was not fit to live in. The television station also reports that Blair filed paperwork with the city claiming that the home was abandoned.
Peterson bought the home several years ago for $23,000–an extremely low price. It is located in the Boston Edison Historic District on the city’s west side.