Activists Help Foreclosed Families Retake Homes

In November 2008, the MWRO blog discussed the federal and local governments approach to the Detroit foreclosure crisis: bailing out banks, evicting families from their homes, and then demolishing good homes to make way for gentrified neighborhoods and more strip malls! In this story, we learn more about how comrades and other housing activists are helping families keep a roof over their head in foreclosed homes, instead of overcrowded shelters or on the street!

Excerpt reposted from the New York Times. Read the full story, “More Squatters Are Calling Foreclosures Home.”

…In Minnesota, a group called the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign recently moved families into 13 empty homes; in Philadelphia, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union maintains seven “human rights houses” shared by 13 families. Cheri Honkala, who is the national organizer for the Minnesota group and was homeless herself once, likened the group’s work to “a modern-day underground railroad,” and said squatters could last up to a year in a house before eviction.

Other groups, including Women in Transition in Louisville, Ky., are looking for properties to occupy, especially as they become frustrated with the lack of affordable housing and the oversupply of empty homes.

Anita Beaty, executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, said her group had been looking into asking banks to give them abandoned buildings to renovate and occupy legally. Ms. Honkala, who was a squatter in the 1980s, said the biggest difference now was that the neighbors were often more supportive. “People who used to say, ‘That’s breaking the law,’ now that they’re living on a block with three or four empty houses, they’re very interested in helping out, bringing over mattresses or food for the families,” she said….

(Image courtesy of the New York Times)

1 Comment on "Activists Help Foreclosed Families Retake Homes"

  1. This family needs help. Someone call him. Please

    Detroit, Mi USA
    Commenting on: General — Message Board

    To Whom it may concerns
    I am writing due to myself and family needs help, I feel at my end now, and I don’t know who to talk or turn to, I have a wife, and a9 year old daughter, we are on our way to be evicted soon, which is okay, due to the house we are staying in has large amount of mole,the pipes back up and floods our basement, with return mess (if you know what I mean) my daughter has asthma, my wife had surgery as for me, I am receiving unemployment due to a layoff, now D.H.S is not really helping us, NOT AT ALL. But all is may not be lost, we did find a home we like, but it only required us to have $6,000 down payment, the home will be ours, and the monthly payment will only be $210 or $360 a month. NOW ONCE AGAIN I KNOW YOU DON’T HELP WITH MONEY, BUT I AM PRAYING THAT YOU CAN DIRECT ME TO SOMEONE OR

    SOME SERVICE THAT WILL HELP US MOVE WITH JUST THE DOWN PAYMENT. If not, true enough we will be living on the streets all 3 of us. We go to court on May 28th at 36th district in rm 421. I know that if I don’t receive any help soon to get back on track, the my life is over, I have let my wife and daughter down, they will soon be on the streets, I rather have my life taken then to see that happen. How can we find someone, or some service to help A.S.A.P please let me know. I AM BAGGING PLEASE I AM WILLING TO WASH SOMEONE FEETS WHEN IT COMES TO SAVING MY FAMILY FROM BEING HOMELESS.

    Thank you

    Stan Sargeant

    (313) 736-three three zero four-home
    (313) 656-eight four one one-cell

    Please call or email me back, before it’s to late.

    Date: Tue, May 26, 2009 10:35 PM EDT
    Message Number: 1,104,555

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