While AGs Settle with Banks, Human Right to Housing Activists Call for Spring Action
As State Attorneys General announce a $26 billion settlement with five of the nation’s biggest banks, Take Back the Land has issued an Open Call to all activsits, particularly those involved in “Occupy” actions, to join them and Occupy Our Homes in a prolonged action campaign this Spring to defend housing foreclosures and occupy people-less homes. Despite the settlement hoopla, the agreement will assist only 1 million homeowners who are delinqent or in foreclosure, and will offer another 750,000 people already foreclosed upon payments of roughly $2,000. This pales in comparison to the 8 million who have faced foreclosure since the housing bubble burst in 2008, and the 10.7 million whose mortgages are currently “underwater.” Worse, there are 18.5 million people-less homes in the United States and 3.5 million homeless. While this is not the trouble that most policy makers see in the current housing crisis or that state AGs were trying to solve, it exemplifies the true challenge: Must housing always be a by-product of investment and speculation? With less than 1% of all housing units in the United State publicly owned, we rely exclusively on the private market to meet our need and human right to housing. That market produced a wave of homelessness forty years ago and a wave of foreclosures now. In advancing the Human Right to Housing, Take Back the Land and NESRI will support local groups who answer the “Spring Action” call to engage in community eviction defense and house “occupancy” actions with campaigns emphasizing the leadership and leadership development of the low-income communities and people most affected. As with the highly successful December 6, 2011 National Day of Action, where Take Back the Land and Occupy Our Homes combined forces to stage housing occupanies, eviction defenses, or solidarity actions in roughly 70 cities and towns across the country, the “Spring Action” will involve similar partnership and coordination. Details and more information can be obtained from rob@takebacktheland.