Yesterday, UHAB organizers took the 3 train all the way down the line to East New York to support Occupy Wall Street’s new initiative, Occupy Our Homes. NY Communities for Change along with community groups like FUREE teamed up with the Occupy protesters to move a family into an abandoned, foreclosed home in East New York. “Occupy Your Homes” signs read. “Foreclosure on Banks, Not on People.” From Brooklyn to Atlanta to Detroit to San Francisco, “Occupy Our Homes” has sparked new energy on the OWS movement, bringing to light real issues of housing foreclosures, bank profits over people, and current economic policy.
At UHAB, we focus campaigns on Predatory Equity in buildings in foreclosure as a result of irresponsible lending practices and greedy landlords. As the OWS movement narrows in on the housing crisis, we hope to continue drawing attention to multi-family foreclosures and the ways that banks and landlords should be held accountable. To read more about yesterday’s exciting, see below for an excerpt from “The Daily Beast.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Tasha Glasgow, an intermittently homeless 30-year-old mother of two, walked out the front door of the foreclosed Brooklyn house thatOccupy Wall Street activists had seized for her and marveled at the hundreds of people outside, cheering in the rain. Clusters of balloons and “Welcome Home” signs adorned the tiny front yard. Zuccotti Park veterans in hardhats decorated with anarchist symbols trooped in with cleaning supplies, beginning a multi-day renovation. Someone hooked up a generator, lighting up Glasgow’s new Christmas tree. Several city councilmen stood on the porch with housewarming gifts.
Glasgow climbed up a stepladder so the throngs on Vermont Avenue in East New York, the Brooklyn neighborhood with the city’s highest foreclosure rate, could see her. “I love everybody,” she said quickly. “I’m kind of shy. Thank you.”
This punk-rock version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition marked the start of a new phase of Occupy Wall Street, as activists nationwide merged civil disobedience with practical action addressing the foreclosure crisis. Occupy Our Homes, as the new wave of demonstrations was called, brought people to the streets in more than 20 states. In California, the Los Angeles Times reported that 75 people gathered at the South Gate home of a woman who suffers from cerebral palsy and recently underwent a double mastectomy, and whose home went into foreclosure after she defaulted by $17,998. Then they took a bus to Riverside, where they helped a factory manager move back into a home that JPMorgan Chase took last month. In Chicago, The Atlantic Wire reported that activists moved into a house whose owner had walked away from her mortgage, leaving it to be ransacked. In Atlanta, demonstrators disrupted foreclosure auctions.
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