On Tuesday afternoon, Occupy Wall Street protestors turned their attention towards the country's housing crisis with "Occupy Our Homes," a day of action calling to occupy thousands of foreclosed homes across the country and mark "the liberation of vacant bank-owned homes for those in need."
Protestors were scheduled to march through the poverty-ridden neighborhood of east New York, which topped the city's list of highest foreclosure ratings last year with a shocking rate of 16.8 per 1,000 households. According to the group's site:
The NYC foreclosure tour and home re-occupation is part of a big national day of action on Dec. 6 that will focus on the foreclosure crisis and protest fraudulent lending practices, corrupt securitization, and illegal evictions by banks. The Occupy movement actions, including eviction defense at foreclosed properties, takeovers of vacant properties by homeless families, and foreclosure action disruptions, will take place in more than 25 cities across the country.
The event also encourages neighbors to join demonstrators for a housewarming party in solidarity against "Wall Street, big banks, and the one percent."
Salon reporter Justin Elliott was on the scene for the march and said that both demonstrators and a large media presence were present despite the rain. Elliott approximated 500 protestors, many who chanted "Banks out of Brooklyn!" and "They say cut back, we say fight back!"
Several housing rights advocacy groups were at hand. Activist Rob Robinson of Take Back the Land highlighted the importance of the day to MSNBC and said, "As part of the 99 percent, we feel like corporations, big banks, are what's holding us back, what’s keeping us impoverished. This is folks' way of fighting back against those institutions."
Protestors ended the tour by reclaiming a vacant house abandoned three years ago after being foreclosed by Bank of America. The father of the family who had been evicted, Alfredo Carrasquillo, was also present and spoke in support of the thousands affected by the housing crisis:
It's criminal that Wall Street got bailed out and then turned around and foreclosed on millions of homes and refused to pay their fair share in taxes that could fund essential services like housing assistance.