A Florida woman who is at the center of a legal and political battle over off-grid living is now living in a tent in her backyard after the city kicked her out of her house, Off The Grid News has learned.
The city of Cape Coral, Florida, got a warrant and inspected Robin Speronis’ home and then posted a notice to vacate, giving her until Thursday to do so.
Speronis lives off-the-grid and does not use utility water or electricity, and maintains that her house is as sanitary as any home in the neighborhood. Her fight for the right to live self-sustainably has captivated the off-the-grid community.
The Rutherford Institute, a legal group, is representing her in her legal fight.
Speronis tells Off The Grid News that she is essentially moving to tents in her backyard, thanks to help from her neighbors and friends.
“My community has been supporting me and yesterday donated two tents and other supplies to create an outdoor living area in my backyard,” she told Off The Grid News via email Wednesday. “I have a six-person tent and a four-person tent. As I have said before, I’ll let The Rutherford Institute do the legal fighting and I’ll do the living with the support of the community. We are all so powerful and we CAN create a beautiful world that no government can take away from us.”
Cape Coral uses what is called the International Property Maintenance Code, which the city says requires all residents to be hooked up to on-grid water and electricity. Speronis says she has the right to refuse both.
In February a judge ruled that Speronis must hook up to the city’s water system, although he said she did not have to use city electricity. The city dug up her yard and capped her sewer in March, an action that violated state law. They also took her dogs.
The city’s code enforcement posted the vacate notice over the weekend.
“I am such a threat to the city of Cape Coral that again they’ve had to make me, technically, legally, homeless. I am technically homeless right now,” Speronis told a local station, FOX 4. “They did enter my house. They were very cocky. They were very condescending,” Speronis added.
Speronis is a Christian, and said her faith has sustained her during the tough times.
“The Greek word for church, Ekklesia, means community,” she said. “I am Greek Orthodox. I am now living the truth that I believed when I started my urban off-grid adventure — that is you can’t live off-grid in an urban setting unless you have community — church.
“How appropriate for Holy Week,” she said, referencing the assistance she’s received.
Losing her dogs was tough, and she’s cried a lot over it, Speronis said. She said she felt God telling her not to worry about her dogs and that “special angels” were watching over them.
“Still, I do have to go through the necessary grieving process,” she said.
Her case appears headed to federal court after the Rutherford Institute — a nationally known civil liberties legal organization — got involved in early March. The case could set a precedent for off-the-gridders nationwide.
“The application of these burdensome rules, regulations, and inspection requirements against individuals attempting to live independent and environmentally sustainable lifestyles sends the wrong message: that citizens must be dependent on the state, whether or not they wish to be,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. “This case is emblematic of a growing problem in America today, namely, that bureaucrats and local governments will go to great lengths to perpetuate dependence and compliance with the nanny state.”
Speronis uses solar panels for electricity and collects rainwater for water. She cooks on a propane stove and keeps clean with a camping shower. She uses an alternative toilet system.
Should the city have removed Speronis from her house? Let us know in the comments below.