Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Neighbors starting to help those who occupy foreclosed homes

What happens when there's a lot of need for something, a lot of that something available, and yet a lot of that something not being used?

People get frustrated and take matters into their own hands.

The New York Times is reporting
that homeless activists across the country are doing exactly that. Various homeless organizations and advocates are helping the homeless move into foreclosed homes or supporting residents when they refuse to be evicted. (The Times isn't the first to report on this movement of course - earlier in February, there was a similar report in the Twin Cities Daily Planet.)
“It’s a beautiful castle, and it’s temporary for me,” she said, “and if I can be here 24 hours, I’m thankful.” In the meantime, she said, she has instructed her adult son not to make noise, to be a good neighbor.

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.

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.

Most of the houses are in poor neighborhoods, where the neighbors are less likely to object.
These occupations have implications beyond mere homeless advocacy, however. During economic depression, we have a similar scenario with respect to labor, raw materials, and equipment.

A depression causes a large percentage of the economy's labor, raw materials, and equipment to fall idle. There ends up being a need for the goods that those people and materials could potentially produce, yet the people and materials remain idle. Some would call that stupid. But others see it as an opportunity.


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