Video: Homeless family occupies forclosed home in Brooklyn

Transcript after the jump
On Tuesday, with the support of neighbors, housing activists, and OWS protesters, a homeless family–Alfredo Carrasquillo, Tasha Glasgowa and their three children–took up residence in a foreclosed house in East New York.

The move was part of a national day of action to mark the beginning of Occupy Our Homes, a campaign to reclaim foreclosed houses from the banks–and give them to the people who need them most. Similar “housewarming” parties took place in more than 25 other cities. And organizer Beka Economopoulous said, “This is just the beginning.”

I’m with Michelle Goldberg–by “harnessing its DIY energy to the needs of real people, and standing up to banks in a way that goes beyond mere symbolism,” this next phase of the Occupy movement seems like it could be really fucking awesome.


Transcript:

Alfredo Carrasquillo: Due to the fact that there’s countless homeless people in the street, including me and my family, we’re here to fight back and let the government know–and the big banks know that they’re not going to take advantage of our communities no more. So you see the family right here. So..Tasha. And just let it be known–this is the first time that they’ve ever been involved in anything like this. So that goes to show you–you don’t have to have prior experience to do this kind of stuff.

Son: Daddy!

Alfredo: My son right here has never been in front of a camera, but he loves the camera. And I think that’s all that matter. [To son: No you cannot have coffee.]

Tasha: That’s constantly what he asks: Are we moving again, Mommy, are we moving again? They’re really young so they don’t really know too much of what’s going on. I just want a place for me and my kids. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that. Why y’all have foreclosed apartments? Should y’all be fixing it up and giving it to people like us?

Alfredo: The real criminals are Wall Street and the big banks who are foreclosing these homes and leaving people homeless and in the street and in the shelter. We’ve gotten alot of support from Occupy Wall Street and other organizations involved in this work and with their assistance, we were able to do outreach and speak to people in the community and gain their support on this. And most people out here agree with what we’re fighting for. For example, Dee and Teresa who lives here.

Teresa: Making everything work together. Not just for one person but for everybody. So it’s important that whatever we have to help somebody else, give it.

Tasha: I’m trying to do what I have to do. This is the only option I have right now.

Alfredo: Alisha, would you like to open that door and then push it? [Enter house.] The first question you’ve got to ask yourself is why? Why is it that these communities have to go through these issues? Why is it that we have to suffer while the wealthy get richer? Like, why is it? And I think ultimately when we start thinking about it and start that dialogue within those communities, within our communities, then maybe we can start addressing it.

[Outside, supporters have gathered]

Son: Mommy! Daddy! Come here! Everybody’s here! They’re looking for us! Come!

[Family goes outside to greet the crowd.]

Voice-over: Empty homes were the target of this latest protest by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Alfredo Carrasquillo and his family were among the protestors. They’ve taken up residence in one of the districts vacant properties.

Alfredo: We took matters into our own hands and claimed back property that was taken away from the community.

Voice-over: Some the residents in this Brooklyn neighborhood were happy to see the protesters.

Alfredo speaking using the human mic: I wanna thank all the people who live in these houses that support what we’re doing. I wanna thank all you people who came out today in the rain, with nasty weather, and supported us in this occupation. This moment is really special. Wow. [Cheers from the crowd.]

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Thanks for sharing about this here. Turning unused property into decent housing has been a noble (if maligned in mainstream media) tradition in NYC (as well as many other places)! :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/witeach/ Dave

    First, we are a nation of laws. Just because breaking a certain law makes us feel good doesn’t mean we should be allowed to break it.

    Second, is this some sort of “collective property” movement? Follow this to its logical conclusion, and a homeless family could occupy my house while I am away on vacation because at the time it was unused property. Who is going to regulate this?

    No, I can’t support this.

    • http://feministing.com/members/jos/ Jos

      Follow this to its logical conclusion, and a homeless family could occupy my house while I am away on vacation because at the time it was unused property.

      Yes, exactly.

      • http://feministing.com/members/witeach/ Dave

        Seriously? So the house I have saved up for a down payment on and continue to work to make payments and maintain isn’t completely mine?

        Someone else can occupy my house when I go to the grocery store because a third party decides they are entitled to?

        Scary.

    • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      They’ve been foreclosed, houses left standing empty. In the 80’s and 90’s it was abandoned buildings left unclaimed to rot by the city. I’ve never heard of anyone moving into someone’s actual residence while they we’re away on vacation, but I guess whatever inaccurate slippery-slope spin the status quo can take to vilify the concept of housing for all, because it’s more important to keep that unused property a commodity than get homeless people off the streets, dammit!

      • http://feministing.com/members/witeach/ Dave

        I don’t consider private property to be a slippery slope.

        • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

          I consider making the jump from people seeking refuge in an empty house to paranoid imaginings that they’ll take over your resided-in house during a vacation to be so slippery it’s glacial.

          • http://feministing.com/members/witeach/ Dave

            But, where are you drawing the line?

            Private property can be used by someone else if it isn’t being used by the owner …

            1. … at that moment.
            2. … that month.
            3. … the bank.
            4. … who is rich.

            If you want to change property laws, fine. Have new laws ratified. Please do not break existing laws, especially with such unclear boundaries. Right now, I have no idea where you draw those boundaries.

            Also, please refrain from saying that Jos has paranoid imaginings.