This is in response to my very own response blogger, and friend, Iwanttheconch:
Squatting is symptomatic of a much larger problem, that is, people without decent shelter. Homeless people. Most of the time, people on the street have nowhere to go, and to criminalise them for trying to find shelter from the elements (as opposed to exercising their right to get pneumonia) is callous and stupid, unless the government has implemented decent homeless shelters (which they haven’t).
By definition, you cannot squat in an occupied house, so this law protects the privilege of the wealthy to own land they don’t live on at the expense of the most vulnerable.
I agree that squatters can do damage, and they should be dealt with accordingly, and that they should move when asked (by the police or homeowners, I am not going to defend their “right” to live on someone else’s property). Furthermore, the government cannot be seen to encourage trespass.
But giving someone a criminal record, for what can only be described as a crime of desperation, seems extreme. Move them on, charge them for vandalism if you want, but for crying out loud, get them somewhere to stay!