After three years of staying in her sister’s living room, Tene Smith decided to move her family into a home that had sat vacant on Chicago’s South Side for more than two years.
With the help of Liberate the South Side, a Chicago-based organization that targets vacant homes for re-occupation and spent months renovating the house, Smith and her three children moved in during a public ceremony attended by community members and the media in January 2012. “I was fearful when I first made this commitment,” she told In These Times, “but as the days passed I had a sense of independence that had eluded me for a long time.”
The term “squatter” conjures images of the predominantly young, urban hipsters who in decades past claimed vacant property in areas such as New York City’s Lower East Side. But with five times as many vacant homes as homeless people in the U.S. today, a new wave of squatters – just as likely to be hard-hit families like Smith’s as young activists making a political statement – is moving into vacant foreclosed properties in cities like Chicago, New York and Minneapolis.
below, from occupy detroit youtube, a video piece that brings the story home, once again, to the real human beings affected by our ravaged economy. crazy davy talks about a new home for himself and his three children, and as the newest member of occupy detroit.
the youtube post states:
"Crazy Davey", as he likes to be called, is occupying the Bath House of the Goldengate Restoration Project. Dave brings a lot of experience to the project and plans to use his construction and renovation expertise to lay down roots in the community.
crazy davey sounds very, very sane to this blogger. after all, what could be more sane than putting these properties to use providing shelter to those willing to do the work to fix them up and inhabit the otherwise empty spaces within their walls? what could be more crazy than leaving abandonned buildings unused while families and individuals go homeless - and in the richest country on earth?
we are living in a topsy-turvy society where the sane are considered crazy, and what is "normal" or usual is what is really nuts.
it's time to set things right side up - occupy everywhere! housing is a human right.