How “Occupy Our Homes” Can Win

February 3, 2012 at 2:01 am (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, )

An Occupy Real Estate march in East New York protests bank foreclosures and encourages people to occupy empty buildings on December 6, 2011. (Photo: Brennan Cavanaugh)

An interview with anti-eviction organizer Steve Meacham of City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston

By Amy Dean, Truthout

Since most of the original Occupy encampments were evicted by wintertime, the question now is, what’s next for activists? One of the most popular suggestions is “Occupy Our Homes,” a campaign in which occupiers around the country would do actions at foreclosed houses or at bailed-out banks that are throwing people out of their homes. A national day of action on December 6 focused on this approach and featured home occupations or solidarity marches in 25 cities, including New York and Chicago.

Occupy Our Homes has three particularly good instincts.

First, it takes the general critique of inequality that the movement has been voicing – something often expressed in abstract charts and tables – and makes the issue concrete.

Since so many people in America are dealing with insecurity about their homes, the shift to doing foreclosure prevention and anti-eviction actions allows new groups of people  with a clear sense of their own connection to the struggle to engage with the Occupy movement. Social movements at their best are about helping people take their individual troubles and link them to a public problem and shifting the focus from trying to personally cope to taking collective action.

Second, the campaign connects the Occupy movement with organizing that has been going on for years. Community-based groups have been resisting foreclosures and evictions at least since the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008, if not before. Bringing the energy of Occupy to bear affords these campaigns more visibility and helps scale up local struggles, which can see themselves as part of a national movement.

Third, Occupy Our Homes identifies an arena for concrete change. Thus far, Occupy has been successful in creating enough general unrest to keep issues of inequality from being ignored and to shine a spotlight on the real economic problems affecting the majority of Americans. But as the movement progresses, it will benefit from targeting its discontent. Yes, we need to create a crisis in public consciousness, but the movement also needs to be able to drive specific changes.

As a new frontier for action, Occupy Our Homes raises a variety of difficult questions: How can we make sure that protests at a home or bank are actions that get real results instead of merely momentary occurrences? And how do we scale up so that we are not just addressing the problems of a few homeowners but instead making an impact that can resonate throughout the national economy?

I will be devoting two columns to these pressing questions.

To begin to understand the tactics and prospects of Occupy Our Homes, I spoke with Steve Meacham, organizing coordinator at City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston. City Life is one of the groups that has long been at the forefront of grassroots anti-eviction actions, and I was excited to get Meacham’s insights.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Seattle: Water House Evicted

December 25, 2011 at 8:02 am (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, , , )

Police arrest three squatters in Central District

From The Seattle Times:

Three men were arrested late Friday night for unlawfully entering a house in the 1900 block of East Spruce Street and apparently damaging the interior with graffiti. They left garbage and open containers of food, and were cooking in the house with a portable gas stove, according to Seattle police.

Officers responded to a 911 caller who said multiple men and women were occupying the residence, which police said is under renovation. It is near a house at 23rd Avenue and East Alder Street that has been taken over by members of the Occupy Seattle movement since November.

Occupy Seattle protesters said those arrested in the Spruce Street house were also members of their group. About 30 of them gathered outside the house to voice support for those inside as police, including SWAT team officers, surrounded the house.

The protesters, who said their occupation of several houses around Seattle is a demonstration against foreclosures, repeatedly heckled the officers and chanted things like “this is what a police state looks like.”

Someone commented on the Central District News blog that people have been occupying that house since Dec. 12.

The suspects will be booked into King County Jail for charges including criminal trespassing, property damage and weapons violations.

Police raid home at 19th and Spruce, 3 alleged squatters arrested:

From Central District News:

Three men were arrested in a nighttime raid of a house at 19th and Spruce December 23 after neighbors told police people were squatting in the under-renovation house.

Occupy Seattle got word of the eviction out, and several people showed up to protest.

The three people arrested were booked into King County jail on charges of criminal trespassing, property damage and weapons violations, police say.

@ThatGirlKatt was there and tweeted photos from the scene:

SPD says they first got reports of the occupants December 23, but a CDN community post from December 21 suggests several people (and a dog) have been living there since December 12.

According to King County records, Mountaincrest Credit Union purchased the house out of foreclosure August 28.

Here’s SPD’s take on the raid:

In the afternoon hours of December 23rd witnesses called 911 to report multiple male and female subjects who had unlawfully entered and occupied a residence under renovation in the 1900 block of East Spruce Street.  Nobody was currently living in the house and the witnesses knew that the subjects occupying the residence did not to live there.

Officers arrived on scene and broadcast over their public address system for the subjects inside the house to come out.  After the third public broadcast by officers was ignored, officers made entry into the residence and discovered two adult male suspects inside who had no legal right to be there.  Another male suspect was attempting to enter the house when contacted by officers.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the suspects entered the house and subsequently damaged the interior of the house with graffiti.  They also left garbage, open containers of food, and were cooking inside the house on a portable, gas-operated stove.

Officers took all three adult male suspects into custody for charges including Criminal Trespassing, Property Damage and weapons violations.  Other criminal charges may be forthcoming.

All three suspects will be booked into the King County Jail.

This remains an active and on-going investigation.

The Occupy Seattle Twitter account questioned the police action shortly after the raid ended:

Squatting has become more and more common (or more conspicuous) as part of the Occupy movement. An unfinished duplex at 23rd and Alder has been occupied by a collective of people since mid November. That group of unnamed defendants have been summoned to court for eviction. The court date has been set for December 28.

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Occupy Atlanta Helps Save Iraq War Veteran’s Home From Foreclosure

December 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, )

A scene from Occupy Atlanta's first housing takeover in Gwinnett, Ga.

By , The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — In a tangible victory by the Occupy movement, Occupy Atlanta has successfully helped save an Iraq War veteran from foreclosure.

Activists began occupying Brigitte Walker’s home on Dec. 6. By the end of that first week, JPMorgan Chase, which owns her mortgage, began discussing with the activists and Walker the possibility of a loan modification. Chase’s modification offer became official Monday morning. The offer will result, Walker tells The Huffington Post, in hundreds per month in savings.

Before Occupy Atlanta set up its tents on her lawn, Chase had set an eviction date for Jan. 3. Now, Walker, who lives with her girlfriend and her two children, will get to stay in her Riverdale, Ga. home.

“I strongly believe Occupy Atlanta accelerated the process and helped save my home,” Walker says. “If it had not been for them standing up, I probably wouldn’t be having this happy ending.”

Chase did not return a request seeking comment.

Tim Franzen, an organizer with Occupy Atlanta, credits Walker and her story with bringing Chase to the bargaining table.

“Her story is compelling,” he tells HuffPost. “I think that’s one of the things that drew us to her home — just very clear injustice on a woman who had literally been injured in one of our wars and suffered legitimate hardship. When Chase suffered their hardship, they were just given all this money.”

Walker, 44, joined the Army in 1985 and had been among the first U.S. personnel to enter Iraq in February 2003. She witnessed fellow soldiers die and get maimed. She saw a civilian embedded with them get killed. “It was very nerve-wracking,” she says. “It makes you wonder if you’re going to survive.”

Walker’s tour in Iraq ended in May 2004 when the shock from mortar rounds crushed her spine.

Doctors had to put in titanium plates to reinforce her spine, which had nerve damage. Today her range of motion is limited, and she still experiences a lot of pain. She struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Loud noises and big crowds are difficult for her to face. Even the Fourth of July is a challenge.

She settled in Riverdale, a town outside of Atlanta, after purchasing a house in 2004 for $139,000. She has a brother who lives in the area and enjoyed it when she would visit him. “It seemed peaceful and quiet,” she says. “That’s what I needed.” Her active duty salary covered the mortgage.

The house, she says, means a lot to her. It was her last big purchase while she was still on active duty.

In 2007, the Army medically retired Walker against her wishes. “I thought I was going to rehab and come back,” she said. “But they told me I couldn’t stay in.” Walker now has to rely on a disability check.

After retiring from the Army, Walker used up her savings. She got rid of a car to help pay her monthly mortgage payment. “I didn’t have problems until they put me out of the military,” she said. “It was just overwhelming.”

By April of last year, she was starting to fall behind on her mortgage. Chase began foreclosure proceedings.

Occupy Atlanta did not crowd Walker’s lawn when they moved in. On the same day that Occupy Atlanta moved into Walker’s property, the activists had also begun occupying another family’s home in downtown Atlanta. Occupiers had deemed the Atlanta property in more imminent jeopardy and devoted more resources there. Walker had only a skeletal crew defending her turf. They never had more than eight people sleeping at the Walker home; on some nights, they had as few as three sleeping on site. At the peak, they had 15 working in Riverdale.

The handful of activists proved more than enough. Within the past two weeks, activists repeatedly canvased the neighborhood’s more than 240 homes, helped identify 15 abandoned properties, conducted graffiti removal, and helped spur a neighborhood watch program. In one instance, the activists said they recovered stolen goods stored in one abandoned home. “We knew where to look,” Franzen says. “It was one of the homes we had cleaned up already.” They started an Occupy Riverdale and began holding general assembly meetings in Walker’s garage.

A recent meeting in Walker’s backyard this past Saturday brought out about a dozen neighbors who addressed local issues like juvenile crime and those abandoned properties. Occupy Atlanta is hoping to convert one of the properties into a community center.

The vacancies have become Topic A. “Neighborhoods have all these empty shells,” Franzen says. “It holds the neighborhood hostage. Many had windows boarded up. Many have been havens for crime. Many have been empty for five years. They are empty because the banks make a little bit more on the insurance.”

The canvasing and birth of a suburban Occupy group replicated Occupy Atlanta’s efforts in Gwinnett County. In early November, Franzen and Co. had taken up residence with the Rorey family in an attempt to save their home from foreclosure. The effort proved unsuccessful but helped them identify other families in need.

The lessons learned from Gwinnett paid off in Riverdale, Franzen says. “This brings our protest out of the symbolic and into an actual, practical, tangible win,” he explains. “Wins like these are going to be so important. We don’t just want people to root for the symbolism of what we stand for. We want people to be empowered to save their own homes.”

Franzen says Occupy Atlanta would be looking to takeover another home at the beginning of the new year.

Walker, who hadn’t decorated the house for Christmas because of the foreclosure proceedings, now is looking for a tree. She has one in mind: “A live tree — one of them nice big fluffy ones that smell like pine. I don’t want no fake trees. I want it to be real.”

Watch the video: A Day in the Life of Occupy Atlanta

 

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Occupying housing from the Pope Squat to Occupy Toronto

December 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, )

The Pope Squat building of 2002. Photo: The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

By Mick Sweetman, Rabble.ca

It was a sweltering afternoon in late July 2002 when the armoured vehicles of the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force pulled up in front of our building. Quickly we started barricading the door with an old desk, if they were coming to kick us out we weren’t going to make it easy for them. We waited tensely as the cops approached the door with submachine guns drawn. Our crime? We dared to take over an abandoned building in the middle of a housing crisis. We all survived that early raid and were eventually allowed back into the building where we lived for the next three months — dubbing it the “Pope Squat” as we occupied it during the pontiff’s visit to Toronto.

Almost 10 years later, squatting is on the agenda again as Occupy activists who have been kicked out of public parks have started taking over empty buildings. At the end of November, the “Occupy Toronto squat team” occupied the basement of a city-owned building at 238 Queen Street West and asked for the building to be leased to them for 99 cents a year. They were evicted by police a mere eight hours after going public. The same problems that we faced a decade ago are still here and a new generation of activists are taking up the fight.

Under orders from Mayor Rob Ford to cut costs, the City of Toronto recently sold 706 homes owned by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Meanwhile, waiting lists for social housing in the greater Toronto area have hit 87,715 people according to a 2010 data request by the Ontario Non Profit Housing Association. A report from the Wellesley Institute notes that spending on social housing at the federal level was cut from 43 per cent to 29 per cent between 1989 and 2009 and one in eight Toronto households involuntarily pay 30 per cent or more of their income on housing.

Threats of in-your-face public squats returning as a regular protest tactic echoed off a large boarded-up Victorian house at 240 Sherbourne Street during a rally for housing on Nov. 26 organized by Stop the Cuts and Occupy Toronto. As activists unfurled a banner reading “Housing now! Occupy! Resist!” from the front railing, Liisa Schofield from Stop the Cuts held up a megaphone and said, “Today we’re talking about the idea of occupying housing. We want to build towards the potential of actually taking them over, holding them, and defending them.”

When the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) took over the Pope Squat it wasn’t the building itself that was the most important aspect but rather the work that went into winning people over in the neighbourhood. We produced 10,000 copies of a newspaper featuring articles on the housing crisis and how squatting should be legal and distributed it door-to-door. It was actually through talking with the staff of a Parkdale agency that we first found out about the old rooming house at 1510 King St. West that was abandoned by its owners after failing to pay taxes owed to the city. Ultimately, it was through building public support, not a make-shift barricade, that we were able to keep the squat as long as we did.

“The Pope Squat really rooted us as an entity in that neighbourhood. After the Pope Squat you saw a lot of the OCAP membership not only organizing in Parkdale but living in Parkdale.” said Mike DeRouches a long-time organizer with OCAP, “People made friends in the neighbourhood and began to see themselves as residents there. People who lived there their whole lives were drawn into organization and the work that OCAP was doing. The Pope Squat in Parkdale really deepened the work that we did in that neighbourhood.”

Activists in Quebec City also took over an abandoned city-owned building in 2002 demanding it be turned into social housing. Nicolas Lefebvre Legault, a coordinator with the Comité populaire Saint-Jean-Baptiste recalls, “One of things we learned the hard way was if you don’t know how to negotiate yourself someone else will, and you will end up betrayed and used by other people or groups. If you’re going to start a struggle then you need to go to the end, which means that if you’re occupying a public building then the landlord will eventually be the city. We just used the media, we never asked for a meeting, we just said ‘Here’s our demands, read them, that’s all.’ And very soon the housing co-op negotiated behind our backs.”

A few years after the squat was evicted, one of the buildings was torn down by the city but the planned housing project that was negotiated by the neighbouring co-operative never happened. So Legault helped organize a committee of people who formed a new housing co-operative and started a long-term campaign to build social housing on the land. It took six years but today Legault’s family of four live in an apartment in the 80-unit complex on the site of the squat, as do two former squatters. Tenants in 40 of the units pay 25 per cent of their income in rent and the rest of the units rent below the average market rates.

“If you really want to win something at some point you need to get in contact and negotiate with the competent authorities.” said Legault, “You can do that transparently and publicly, you don’t need to do it behind closed doors, you can do it democratically and up-front and that’s what we did. The campaign was less flashy than the squat but it actually won.”

The need to win actual housing is acutely felt by Brandon Gray who is busy scouting empty buildings for Occupy Toronto protesters to squat. Sitting in a gritty diner on Roncesvalles Avenue with classic rock playing over the tinny speakers, one thing that worries Gray is the fact that there’s no legal protection for squatters in Canada.

“That’s one reason some folks who have found some potential squats are keeping it quiet and are really worried that if they go public they’ll get them snatched away from them by the police.” said Gray as he warily stirs his coffee when asked where the buildings are located.

“It’s tough when you have potential squats that you don’t want to make public because they’ll be taken away and on the other hand you have people screaming at the general assembly that they’re freezing every night and they need housing right now.”

One idea floated by Gray was a dual strategy of secret and public squats. Some squats would be kept quiet for the roughly 30 people from Occupy Toronto who are homeless. Meanwhile, a public squat which has a much higher risk of being evicted would be used for general assemblies and to protest the sell-off of social housing.

Whether the housing occupations will increase as the temperature drops or start fresh in the spring isn’t clear right now. Regardless, as Occupy transforms itself from a movement of people sleeping in parks into one that ensures that everyone has a roof over their head, it’s vital that we take the lessons of past occupations and apply them to the ones to come.

Mick Sweetman is rabble.ca’s news intern. He is based in Toronto.

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Occupy Our Homes: Take Back the Land Has Lessons For Home ‘Liberators’

December 14, 2011 at 1:20 am (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Land Occupations, Squatting) (, , , , , , , )

Max Rameau is led away by a City of Miami police officer when he was arrested during a protest against the evictions being carried out at an apartment complex on June 15, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Rameau, who is the cofounder of the activist movement Take Back the Land, tried to prevent the eviction of tenants from the complex but was unsuccessful. According to the activists, the bank, which now owns the apartment complex, is forcing the current residents out and they have no other homes to move to. (Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

By , Huffington Post

MIAMI — Two years ago the Ramos family moved into a small house in the Little Haiti neighborhood here. They did so without a title, a lease, or permission from the property’s owner.

After the father’s construction company shut down, a victim of the housing crash, they couldn’t pay their rent. Their possessions were literally thrown on the street.

“For a time we were basically living in our car or at our friends’ houses — pretty much without a home,” Mr. Ramos said.

Now the Ramos family, naturalized citizens who spoke through an interpreter and asked HuffPost not to use their first names for fear of being kicked out, have succeeded in making the house a home. They cleared out the trash that drug users had piled in mounds. With a leafy lawn and a couple of dogs barking happily, the place looks pretty comfortable.

“For myself as a mother in the United States, this is the place that I’ve been the happiest in,” Mrs. Ramos said. “And in my consciousness this feels right. Instinctively it feels right.”

Many would simply call it squatting. But Take Back the Land, the Miami-based group whose members helped the family move in, calls it a home “liberation.”

According to the Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 1.6 million homes sitting vacant in Florida. A 2010 report estimated that 57,643 people go homeless on any given night. In between that unused capacity and unfilled need stands the law, which protects banks’ and other owners’ property rights.

On Tuesday, Occupy Wall Street will take the group’s unorthodox anti-foreclosure tactics national. Activists will move to “Occupy Our Homes” in a nationwide series of civil disobedience actions, challenging the big banks over the thousands of vacant homes across the country that lie empty even in the midst of a homelessness and foreclosure crisis.

“Here we have a chance to occupy and liberate: it’s a one-two punch and that’s what works,” said Max Rameau, the Haitian-born activist who has braved and sometimes endured arrest while defending families from eviction as part of Take Back the Land, a group that he helped found. The group is now listed on the Occupy Our Homes website as an “ally.”

Rameau’s “liberations” mostly helped people of color. “The Occupy side,” Rameau said, “has mainly happened with young whites.”

Now he hopes that with the help of the Occupy movement, community groups like his can mainstream their fight against the banks. But as Occupiers move into neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, they will be greeted by a confounding knot of problems that Take Back the Land has been wrestling with for years: race, responsibility and property.

Take Back the Land’s struggles in Miami started in a vacant lot in Liberty City. Fed up with gentrification, the group moved on October 2006 to set up a makeshift village of shanties made from shipping pallets and cardboard. They quickly rebranded the plot Umoja Village; the first word is Swahili for “unity.”

They were responding to the human impact of the housing bubble, what Rameau calls a mentality of “gentrification: buy low, fix up, sell high.”

In April 2007 the village burnt to the ground in a furiously quick fire. No one was seriously harmed. Just as it was forced out of its Liberty City lot, however, Take Back the Land was expanding its scope. The group’s playing field had become the whole state of Florida, hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.

In February 2007, even as foreclosure filings dropped nationally over the previous month by 4 percent, Florida’s shot up by 63.5 percent, according to RealtyTrac. It was a harbinger of things to come.

After Mary Trody’s mother stopped making payments on the family’s house northwest of Miami, her family was evicted in February 2009 — but Take Back the Land and another local group that Trody is a member of, the Miami Workers Center, very publicly moved them back in, with TV stations, a crew sent by filmmaker Michael Moore, and the Miami Herald looking on.

The eviction was halted.

“If it’s worth fighting for, yes, I would say the same thing: take arrests,” Trody said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to make a difference. If we organize. If we stand together and try to show the world.”

The struggles Take Back the Land has encountered since late 2007 in legalizing their “liberations” may serve as lessons for the people taking part in Occupy Our Homes. Trody’s family house, for example, has seen a parade of four owners since the eviction defense, none of whom have been willing to settle on terms to let them stay.

Today, Take Back the Land has stopped moving in families to newly “liberated” properties. Rameau and other core members have left or are leaving Miami for other opportunities.

“We haven’t won homes. We haven’t changed people’s lives,” Rameau said. Without more public pressure on banks, he said, Take Back the Land’s successes could only be incremental.

“We were only doing defense,” Rameau said.

On Tuesday, with the help of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Our Homes will begin. Activists in dozens of cities — some members of the Take Back the Land affiliates that have sprouted in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Portland, Washington, DC, and more — will be following the group’s example. They hope to shame banks into cutting mortgage payments or creating a “right to rent” foreclosed properties.

As actions begin, however, Take Back the Land members say the Occupiers should know what they’re getting into.

“Leak in the roof, water, electricity’s out, whatever minor issue — I think it’s something we did not necessarily foresee as becoming our responsibility, in terms of providing social services, which is what it ended up being in addition to it being a political organization. And that’s very stressful,” said Mamyrah Prosper, another activist with Take Back the Land.

The toll on families who move into “liberated” houses, too, can sometimes be taxing. Since Trody’s family defended their house, they have been living in it without any sort of agreement from its owners, under constant threat of eviction or arrest. The Ramoses have had their house broken into twice.

If occupiers are white, meanwhile, they may also end up moving into the black or Latino communities that have been hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.

Rebecca Wood, a white, 30-year-old self-described anarchist who is a supporter of Take Back the Land, said the group “was very intentionally black-led and focused on working within black communities and working towards self-determination for those communities.”

“I think that that’s a pretty different goal than continuing the occupation through the winter,” she said.

Rameau drew a contrast between the mostly white “occupiers” and the more diverse “liberators.” The occupiers, he thinks, should take actions like sitting down in banks in “direct confrontation with core parts of the system.”

“How does that manifest itself for the liberate side?” he asked. “That manifests itself in home liberations.”

If and when the Occupiers move families into houses that they have not previously inhabited, they will be running up against some very strongly held beliefs about ownership.

The goal of Take Back the Land, Prosper said, was to change the framework: to make people think about “moving away from what’s legal versus illegal into just versus unjust.”

“Some of us just challenged the whole notion of private property, period,” said Prosper. “If you go that route so radically, you’re going to ostracize yourself.”

Still, there is precedent in the United States for squatters taking possession of homes. On New York’s Lower East side, residents were able to eventually gain control of buildings on East Seventh Street.

The Ramos family would welcome any help it can get. At the mention of the Occupy movement, Mrs. Ramos beams. She doesn’t ever want to leave her house, she said, “because as human beings we have the right to live dignified in a home.”

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‘Occupy’ protesters reclaiming foreclosed homes in 20 cities

December 7, 2011 at 12:16 am (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, , , , , )

Occupy Our Homes protest (Vocal New York)

By David Edwards, The Raw Story

The 99 percent movement, which has been evicted from many of their encampments across the country, is finding common cause with thousands of homeowners who are also being evicted from their homes.

Even though the movement has often been criticized for a lack of defined goals, Tuesday’s “Occupy Our Homes” action in at least 20 cities makes it clear that they are standing up to banks to reverse foreclosures.

“We’re in the neighborhood in New York City that had the highest number of foreclosure filings in 2010 to send a message that the economy is failing the 99 percent,” Vocal New York organizer Sean Barry told Raw Story from a Brooklyn neighborhood as about 200 protesters chanted in the background.

“We’re here because [there are] a lot of empty buildings owned by Wall Street banks and we’re going to liberate them.”

Tasha Glasgow, the single mother of a 9-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, was expected to be one of the first occupants of a reclaimed home. Barry said that Glasgow, who had been in and out of the shelter system in New York City, had been slated to get a Section 8 voucher before budget cuts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg put an end to that promise.

“We’ve gained access to the home, and we’ve got the support of the neighbors,” Barry explained. “They’re going to start occupying it. … And then, there’s going to be 24/7 eviction defense by Occupy Wall Street.”

There were over 40 events planned in more than 20 cities Tuesday, but that is just the beginning.

“When it comes to Wall Street’s control over our economy, our democracy and our lives, there’s few better examples than the housing crisis,” Barry noted. “Occupy Wall Street is going to continue to support this national Occupy Our Homes campaign, and both defend homeowners who are being threatened with eviction due to foreclosure, and to move families that need homes into vacant buildings that banks are just sitting on.”

David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he’s also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.

Related:

Occupy protesters take over foreclosed homes

Wall Street protesters to occupy foreclosed homes

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‘Occupy Our Homes’ Protesters Highlight Foreclosures Nationwide

December 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm (Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, , , , , )

By Arthur Delaney, Huffington Post

Bobby Hull is scheduled to be evicted from his Minneapolis house in February, but he won’t leave without a fuss. He’s invited 100 people from the local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement on Tuesday to protest his foreclosure.

Hull said he doesn’t know if the attention will help him win back his home, which Bank of America sold at a sheriff’s sale in August, but he considers the effort worthwhile no matter what.

“If I lose it, I lose it. But I might be able to open the door for somebody else,” Hull told HuffPost. “It might inspire somebody else to stand up and say, ‘Yeah, you’re right, what the banks are doing is wrong.'”

That’s the idea behind the action at Hull’s house: to draw attention to an unending foreclosure crisis. The rally is one of several events scheduled across the country as the Occupy Wall Street movement, defined in part by its broad critique of economic inequality, focuses in on the narrower issue of housing. Events like the rally at Hull’s house will occur in more than a dozen cities, according to organizers, who have received help from more traditional community organizing and labor groups.

The “Occupy Our Homes” protests come as banks face a reckoning for foreclosure malfeasance nationwide. A coalition of state law enforcement officials and the Obama administration have sought a settlement with the biggest lenders over rogue foreclosures and poor treatment of homeowners. But the talks, led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, have dragged on for longer than a year, and several state attorneys general have defected because they say the $25 billion settlement Miller’s seeking is too small and would let banks off the hook for too much bad business.

Click here to read the full article…

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#OccupyOurHomes #OWS #December6 #D6 – Get the word out!

December 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Squatting) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

FORECLOSE ON THE BANKS, NOT ON PEOPLE

On December 3rd, community activists and occupiers canvassed East New York, Brooklyn in preparation for December 6th National Day of Action.

Just from the few hours, conversing and handing out flyers, over 300 community members are already interested in being involved.

“This action is part of a national kick-off for a new frontier for the occupy movement: the liberation of vacant bank-owned homes for those in need, and the defense of families under threat of foreclosure and eviction. Actions will take place in more than 25 cities across the country…”

occupyourhomes.org

This is only the beginning.

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