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The Battle for Foreclosed Homes: Occupy Protesters Tackle the Big Banks

January 6, 2012 · Print This Article

We’ve been hearing an awful lot about the Occupy movement in the past couple of months. People gathered to protest many things; the inequality between the rich and the poor, the fading middle class, and the corruption that seems to run rampant throughout the monetary and government leaders in our country. Having been evicted from the parks and other public areas where they gathered, however, protesters have set their eyes on an entirely new area; foreclosed homes. In an effort to protest the money made by the banks during the housing bubble, as well as the corrupt lending procedures that banks made lots of money from, these people are taking over said homes and getting between officials trying to auction or foreclose on houses.
Occupy Our Homes
The offshoot movement has been dubbed ‘Occupy Our Homes’, and they are embarking on what they call a national day of action. This day is meant to protest how banks have treated homeowners in recent years, with many protesters claiming gross mistreatment of people who purchased homes during the bubble and the fact that most banks made tons of money by offering loans that were more predatory that took advantage of consumers. While few people argue the statistics and the corruption that was hidden until the housing bubble popped, many wonder if the Occupy movement is really handling it in the right way. The protesters march on, however, looking for a variety of ways to get their message out.
Occupy Homes, Courthouses
Protesters associated with the movement have come up with a few ways of making themselves heard. Without regard to local laws, protesters in Brooklyn marched through the damp and rainy streets to cover all for sale signs with police tape. Their end goal was to occupy a home that had been empty since its foreclosure two years ago. They plan on permanently occupying it and offering it to a homeless family. Such stories are cropping up around the country as well, though not always accompanied by a protester force. In fact, we’ve been hearing about homeless squatters taking up residence in homes that are empty for a while now. This time, however, there is a show of force behind the occupation; a show of force that is chanting ‘Bail out the Workers, not the Banks!’.
Attempts to Block Foreclosures, Work Towards New Terms
In some areas, the protesters are turning to other methods to ‘occupy’ homes and people that are being affected by the crash of the housing market. One such example is seen in Minneapolis, where protesters are trying to block and change the terms of some homes being foreclosed on due to loss of income or illness before these consumers can even think about a moving truck rental. In one case, a man faces eviction in February for failing to meet the bloated payments for his home. Protesters and leaders of the Occupy Our Homes movement say that it just doesn’t make sense. Though he owed $275,000 on the home, it only fetched $80,000 at an auction. It made no sense for the banks to do what they did, rather than offering some kind of reduced payment solution. Bank representatives only say that he didn’t meet the qualifications for their reduced payment program. Protesters plan on camping in the front yard, blocking any attempt to serve eviction papers in February.
Good or Bad?
To date, many groups of Occupy protesters have taken back homes that have been foreclosed on. The homes are empty and more often than not have been left to vandals and disrepair. Occupy protesters move homeless families into these homes without the use of a cheap truck rental, repairing the vandalism and fixing the homes as they go. But is their cause and the way they are going about it good or bad? Only the future will tell, but the protesters say they are just getting started. With plans to expand in 2012, we can only wait to see what might come of the Occupy Our Homes movement and the people involved.

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