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We are the 99 percent

Articles tagged housing

Blueprint for the Future: Housing the 99%

Posted 10 years ago on Feb. 27, 2014, 3:14 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Homelessness, Occupy Madison, tiny homes, housing, Direct Action

This article is by Damien Crisp

The future has not been written, but blueprints are being drawn up everywhere.

Many of us live as prisoners to architecture defined by capitalism. Rent is too high and far out of balance with wages. Mortgages are rigged against us.

We can pay and pay but still lose our home to foreclosure. The job market around you has collapsed and you live in fear of exile. We live in fear. Many people are homeless in the United States. Elderly and whole families unable to find shelter are becoming more and more common across the country. Homelessness and becoming a prisoner to your home mortgage are intertwined states.


The 1% Are Still Stealing Our Homes

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 20, 2013, 8:57 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: occupy our homes, housing, hedge funds

Laura Schlegel, a mother and active community member in Portage Park, Chicago, is facing eviction by the Cogsville Group, a private equity firm in New York City. The family is one of thousands of families now renting homes owned by massive private equity firms and hedge funds. Capitalizing on the foreclosure crisis, these Wall Street investors have purchased 200,000 homes across the country -- mostly in cities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

Laura is struggling with chronic pain due to nerve damage and needs to be close to her doctors in Portage Park. She could be evicted any day, and she has nowhere for her, her son and her dogs to go.

Instead of putting them out on the street, the Cogsville Group should at least offer her and her family a new lease that allows them to stay in the home they previously owned.

Why this is important:

As the banks enjoy record-breaking profits and the 1% steal a bigger share of annual income than ever, the 99% have learned that this so-called economic recovery is nothing more than a big fat lie.

Tens of thousands of people are still being evicted each month through foreclosure, and now private equity firms and hedge funds are executing a massive land grab in cities across the country. In some cities, like Phoenix, there are already Wall Street-owned homes on every single block by the hedge fund Blackstone.

These Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms are pretending to help by renting out these vacant houses -- but we know that they are just trying to make more money off the banks of the 99%. One of these private equity firms has even released a new risky security backed by rental payments -- which is just like the mortgage-backed securities that destroyed the economy in 2008.

The story of Laura and her family show how we must stop this land grab and demand that housing be enshrined as a human right, not a means to make a short-term profit.

Laura, her son and 3 small dogs have lived in their Portage Park home for the last seven years. With the help of a partner, she bought the home in 2006 for nearly $400,000. After the market crashed, they attempted to refinance the mortgage. Following the bank’s instructions, Laura and her partner missed three months of their mortgage payments to qualify for a loan modification. But instead of working with the family, Bank of America put the home in foreclosure, using the highly controversial process of “dual tracking” in which banks simultaneously put families in the process of modifying their loans and put the loan in the foreclosure pipeline.

In Laura’s case -- as with so many other homeowners across the country -- the foreclosure process won.

Her home was sold at an auction and bought back by the government-owned mortgage giant Fannie Mae -- which then allowed a private equity firm, The Cogsville Group, to buy the right to manage her house and collect rent from the family. But when her home flooded this past spring, the company did not help her with clean up, mold remediation or repairs.

In efforts to pressure Cogsville to assume responsibility for its property management, Laura’s partner stopped paying the rent. But instead of negotiating under the circumstances, the family received an eviction notice.

Laura and her family are asking that the eviction be dropped, and that the Cogsville Group offer Laura a new lease with an option to buy.

Help us stop Laura’s eviction -- and send a message to Wall Street that they can no longer exploit our human needs for their short term profits!

Sign this petition to demand that Laura and her family are allowed in their home.

This article originally appeared on Occupy Our Homes


Rising Out of Disaster with Occupy Sandy

Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 26, 2013, 3:51 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: housing, Occupy Sandy, worker cooperative

A full year after Hurricane Sandy battered the eastern seaboard, we can begin to glean valuable insight into the community-led relief network that sprung up in response, also known as the Occupy Sandy network. In late October 2012, as the “Superstorm” was approaching, Occupy Wall Street participants focused social media and interpersonal networks in preparation. By the following morning, the group had already begun to use social media and network-based communications to amplify the relief efforts in some of the the hardest-hit communities across New York City and New Jersey.

In the days and weeks that followed, Occupy Sandy helped create and connect a complex, nimble, and oftentimes haphazard relief network. Donation centers, mutual aid hubs, open-source needs assessments, and volunteer assignment systems sprung to life, seemingly overnight. Drawing on the strengths of network-based organizing, these efforts were often more effective than the work of traditional, top-down aid organizations like the Red Cross.

One of the tens of thousands of people who came together to make this network thrive was Sofía Gallisá Muriente, who spent the last year organizing in Rockaway Beach. Listen to her share her experiences from the effort and her thoughts about the future promise and latent perils that the Occupy Sandy network now faces.

Organizing during disasters is becoming an increasingly important role of the social justice movement, particularly as climate change threatens to wreck havoc upon nations and people who are the least responsible for the pollution and exploitation of the earth. Today, tens of thousands of residents of the Philippines are organizing to survive amidst the devastation wrought by the most recent typhoon. So-called elected leaders refuse to address this crisis, evidenced by the utter failure of last week’s climate summit in Warsaw. Since politicians and the powerful continue to work for the fossil fuel industry, we must work for the people -- both to slow climate change by forcing an end to consumption and fossil fuel burning, and to organize survival networks that protect ourselves and our fellow humans against the climate genocide.

As this talk demonstrates, this work has already started. Now, we must amplify it.


Call to Action: A Month Later and Still No Housing and No Medical Access #OccupySandy

Posted 11 years ago on Dec. 2, 2012, 11:15 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: health care, gentrification, bloomberg, occupy sandy, housing, nyc

Urgent Call To Action And Bloomberg’s Stealth Visit To An Occupy Sandy Relief Distribution Hub In The Rockaways

New York City’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, stepped out of a helicopter midday Thursday in St. Camillus’ parking lot, ironically an Occupy Sandy relief distribution hub in the Rockaways, Queens. The visit had been kept under wraps and not listed on his official schedule. Watch this video, read the statement, and stay informed and pledge your support for the communities most affected by Sandy that are still in dire need! We are planning a day of action on December 15th. Join us!


Bloomberg and a small party accompanying him were whisked off in black cars. He missed a greeting from community members in an area still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, with quickly-lettered signs: “Rockaways in Health Crisis,” “We Need Safer Housing.” Bloomberg made his way to the still-shuttered offices of The Wave, the Rockaways weekly newspaper. As word spread about the stealth visit, a crowd gathered outside hoping to explain those signs to the mayor: a month after Sandy hit, swamping homes with seawater, many residents—homeowners and tenants—are still living without electricity, without heat, without working appliances, with black mold taking hold of walls and other surfaces. Temporary housing is desperately needed, absentee landlords must fix their properties.

The mayor emerged behind a row of police, thanked the group, and was quickly driven away—avoiding a repeat of his November 4 visit when residents lambasted him for ignoring them.


Hurricane Sandy is an ongoing tragedy that for many people is only getting worse. Residents, community organizations and city, state, and federal agencies must come together to address the IMMEDIATE crisis that is worsening as the weather gets colder.

A month after Hurricane Sandy, thousands remain without electricity, heat, water, healthy food, basic healthcare, adequate housing, or even temporary shelter.

Here is a statement from a group of individuals and residents who have been working in the affected communities with Occupy Sandy:


Long before Sandy hit, New York City already ranked high for homelessness. Now, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have been displaced, while many more are living in unsafe, moldy houses. Many NYCHA residents have been forced to pay full rent while having no heat and, in some cases, no water or electricity for weeks.

There should be an immediate housing plan that addresses their needs; it would include: extending the NYCHA rent credit to cover November and December to account for lost wages and the storm’s true impact; providing sufficient federal disaster relief funding to NYCHA, and employing NYCHA residents for building repairs instead of outsourcing jobs.

A recent census found 2,489 vacancies in 20 City Council districts that could house 200,000 people. In Far Rockaway, there are 384 lots that could be used to set up housing for 31,696 people immediately, keeping families close to their community networks. The City of New York should seize this opportunity to set a global precedent that would address both the immediate crisis as well as create housing for the tens of thousands who were homeless before the storm.


The storm has compounded an already existing health crisis in NYC. Now, families are living in unsafe homes, there is not enough access to primary care physicians, mental health practitioners and health care facilities in affected communities, and it has become even more difficult for those in impacted areas to access healthy food.

FEMA and Red Cross should work with volunteer healthcare infrastructures to set up more clinics to dispense necessary prescriptions and trauma counseling, and should direct money toward supplying healthy food to those in need — instead of canned goods, military rations, and other food high in sodium.


Workers are being or have been deducted pay from jobs they cannot physically get to, many are unaware of FEMA benefits and deadlines, and private insurers are denying many claims. The Red Cross should dedicate some of its Sandy recovery funds to public information campaigns that inform employers and employees of their rights and what services are available. FEMA should be out canvassing neighborhoods with interpreters in order to ensure that all individuals impacted by the storm know their rights. FEMA should also organize weekly or twice weekly mass mailings for a minimum of four weeks, distributing leaflets in multiple languages, notifying people of available assistance and pertinent deadlines.

Already many residents are being denied FEMA assistance because they have insurance while their insurance companies are denying claims. The Attorney General should immediately intervene on behalf of residents who are unable to make repairs and in danger of losing everything because of these discrepancies.


The influx of relief money coming into the region provides an opportunity for healthy, environmentally sustainable rebuilding with the inclusion of communities and community-based organizations.

We call for a public task force to monitor the use of funds and create structures that encourage community participation to help sustainably rebuild NYC in a way that prepares for today’s environmental challenges.


From the start, Occupy Wall Street has always been a disaster recovery effort propelled by the power of the people to rebuild a better future. We, along with our many allies, have been dedicated to more than just addressing economic inequality. We believed, and continue to believe, that New York City can reverse its role as the capitol of economic inequality, homelessness and corporate control over our democracy, and become a model for addressing the needs of its residents while promoting their dignity and ability to help shape our future.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, yet again we see both an opportunity and a threat. As Hurricane Katrina showed, moments of devastation and rebuilding can lead to the return of the status quo, or worse — gentrification, displacement and continued privatization of basic services and jobs.

  • We are dedicated to seeing that that does not happen here in New York City.
  • And we are dedicated to ensuring participation and transparency in this process.
  • We know another world is possible and we are committed to working with our neighbors to build it.


We are planning a day of action on December 15th. To stay informed about this issue or to join us on the 15th, please fill out this form.