Movement to Occupy Vacant Houses Spreads
NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY

Movement to Occupy Vacant Houses Spreads


Bronx activists supported by Occupy Wall Street enter second month of occupation -   January 10, 2012
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support this network as contributors are allowed the time to develop their arguments - CM
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Transcript

Movement to Occupy Vacant Houses SpreadsJAISAL NOOR, JOURNALIST: In New York, Occupy Wall Street is continuing to shift its focus away from occupying parks and squares to other actions, such as occupying homes. In Brooklyn, New York, an occupation of a vacant home has entered its second month. Twenty-seven-year-old father of two Alfredo Carrasquillo has been in and out of homeless shelters for nearly ten years.

ALDREDO CARRASQUILLO, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, VOCAL-NY: When I was going through the shelter with my kids and their mother, and we decided we didn't want to go through that no more. And that's why I winded up couch hopping, because I didn't want to go through that experience anymore.

NOOR: But after getting the support of community and church groups and Occupy Wall Street's Occupy Our Homes campaign, Carrasquillo spearheaded an effort to find a new home for his family.

CARRASQUILLO: So you—please come inside.

NOOR: Carrasquillo moved into a vacant home in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, which has experienced high rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and abandoned homes. Teams of Occupy Wall Street protesters have joined Carrasquillo in shifts to defend the occupation around the clock. They're also working alongside him to fix up the house and make it hospitable for his wife and children.

CARRASQUILLO: So I felt it was my duty and obligation to stand up as a young man of color from these communities to lead by example to show that there's nothing ashamed with admitting that the system is wrong and is not allowing you to progress and be productive and own your own property and become a productive citizen in society.

NOOR: In December, activists carried out a nationwide day of action to reclaim foreclosed homes from bailed-out banks and move homeless families into them. Although Carrasquillo is risking arrest, he hopes he'll gain a permanent home for his wife and children, who are 5 and 9 years old. He's in negotiations with Bank of America and the former owner to gain legal ownership of the property

CARRASQUILLO: I came to this point where I jumped on this opportunity, and I wanted to make it a national movement to help all the families that are homeless and dealing with the situation I had to deal with.

NOOR: Some neighborhood residents are expressing support for Carrasquillo and the efforts to fight back against corporate lending practices. Longtime Brooklyn resident Doyle Coleman lives three doors down.

DOYLE COLEMAN, BROOKLYN RESIDENT: It's something me and the family welcomes, and also members of the community, because any time you have vacant property that's an eyesore with no upkeep, nobody to maintain it, nobody to take care about it, it brings the value of other people's property down.

NOOR: Occupy Our Homes is a shift of focus for activists in New York. Organizer Elliot Tarver says they're now organizing actions around the needs of local communities.

ELIOT TARVER, OCCUPY ORGANIZER: It's moved past just being symbolic, which is really what sleeping in Zucatti Park was, to taking things like homes and doing actions that create lasting change and that affect people rather than just spread a message, which is also important.

NOOR: Tarver says Occupy Wall Street should not only build relationships with local communities, but put community members and organizations at the forefront of the movement.

TARVER: But I think the concept of bringing together these different constituencies around an issue like housing or like student debt or whatever is a really important way to work and to kind of bridge gaps between the people who've been doing this organizing for years and years and years and this new movement which now has a ton of momentum behind it and a lot of resources. And so I think tightening up those working relationships is going to be a really important thing on the agenda in the next couple of months.

NOOR: A recent study by the Center for Responsible Lending examining home loans received between 2004 and 2008 found one in four borrowers in low-income areas have been foreclosed on or risk foreclosure. More than 3.5 million people could still lose their homes to foreclosure, on top of the 2.7 million who already have. To reverse this trend, activists, including the group Take Back the Land, are vowing to expand eviction defenses and occupations across the country. Similar actions are underway in Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle.

IRA RHEINGOLD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSUMER ADVOCATES: What the Occupy movement really is simply pointing to and showing is that we have all these homeless people, we have all these houses that are vacant. we need to do something about it.

NOOR: Ira Rheingold, Executive Director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, says activists are succeeding in popularizing the idea of housing as a human right.

RHEINGOLD: Ultimately will it move the policy debate? I think that's the most important thing, so that we actually have policies in place that promote people staying in their homes and finding decent housing for families who are homeless, which we really have failed to do in this country at this point.

NOOR: Reporting for The Real News and FSRN, this is Jaisal Noor in New York.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


Bernie Sanders and Reparations
Zika Linked to Deforestation and Climate Change
Civil Disobedience and Free Speech Tested by Prayer in Ferguson
Running From the Climate Challenge
Elections, Reparations and Beyonce: Class Politics in Black America
Elizabeth Embry: We're Wasting Time Arresting Addicts
Guilt Abounds: Democrats and Republicans Struggle to Clean Up Their Image Over Flint's Dirty Water
TRNN in New Hampshire: Can Change Come From Within the Democratic Party?
SCOTUS Blocks Obama Clean Power Plan, Hinders Future of Environmental Legislation
What Does the Supreme Court EPA Stay Mean for Ohio?
Historian Says Additional Baltimore Confederate Statues Should be Removed
Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Climate Change Efforts
Foreign Policy, Trump Style
TRNN in New Hampshire: Why The Real News Went to the Primary
TRNN in New Hampshire
TRNN in Hampshire: Sanders Supporter Challenges 'Electability' Argument
TRNN in New Hampshire: Trump's Senior Policy Advisor Defends Curbing Immigration
TRNN in New Hampshire: Sanders Campaign Inspiring Movement Beyond the Election
TRNN in New Hampshire: Former Clinton Advisor Defends Hillary's Foreign Policy Record
TRNN in New Hampshire: Sanders Supporters Celebrate Sweeping Success
MD Senate Restores Ex-Felon's Right to Vote
TRNN in New Hampshire: Debating Hillary Clinton's Record on Finance
TRNN in New Hampshire: How Campaign Contributions Shape Candidates
TRNN in New Hampshire: Fear, Ignorance Drives Resistance to Immigration Reform
TRNN in New Hampshire: Cold War Rhetoric, Sander's Candidacy, and the Women's Vote
TRNN in New Hampshire: Voices of the Voters
Not Yet Free: Dr. Mutulu Shakur Will Not Be Released From Prison Today
Fire in the Belly: Black Arts in Baltimore with Rosiland Cauthen
Days of Revolt: Company Town
The Wilting UK Economy

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting