Squatters Take Over Abandoned Homes in Ceres as Development Halts

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Written By Angela Angela






CERES — With California already needing more housing, a city in Stanislaus County is struggling to build new homes.

In Ceres, a 40-home neighborhood has been empty and abandoned for almost two years.

The developer quit about a month ago, but city councilwoman Rosalinda Vierra said there hasn’t been any activity on the site for over a year.

“We need to finish or redo these homes that have been vacant for three years,” Vierra said.

Vierra, who has served District 2 for almost two years, said the Tuscany Village housing development on Whitmore Avenue is an eyesore.

“It comes down to funding,” she explained. “The bank pulled the loans, so the developer couldn’t get the money.”

The developer, CEC Homes, slowly abandoned the project about a year ago.

“When the builder and contractor left, squatters moved in,” Vierra said.

Homeless people broke in and lived in the homes, leaving empty shampoo bottles and clothes behind. Copper wire was stolen, and water heaters installed by the developer were taken.

“That’s when I finally said enough,” Vierra stated.

She reported the issue to code enforcement, which came in May to clear the area.

“It’s time for change. This isn’t acceptable. We need to find solutions,” she said.

Without an investor, the 40 lots remain empty, and the homes are unfinished.

“Most of the work is done. The rest is just finishing the homes,” Vierra said. “We just need someone to do the final steps.”

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