Monday, January 07, 2013

Land Hoarding

This country was founded by people who were able obtain land for free or very little and build a new life. Now all the land is owned, and even when it is not being used, is not available for those who need a new start. This keeps it even more scarce and expensive. (Ok, I know we stole it from the Indians. They were lucky that when they got here, it was not already occupied by other humans.)

However, I do see a problem in just letting homeless people move in. I was lucky that when I took in a homeless couple who were working at the animal hospital where I was boarding my dog, they were just lazy and left me with several hundred dollars worth of phone calls to a porno line. I believe in helping people, but I have to say often they do not behave well.

But many people are homeless or otherwise in need because of circumstances beyond their control, or because of mistakes they made in good faith because we can not foretell the future.

Habitat for Humanity does it right. They require the people who need the house to help build it.

But I don't see how it is helpful to society for a bank or individual to have control forever to large pieces of the planet that we all live on.
From Facebook:

Dear Friends,
On December 6th Occupy Our Homes Atlanta liberated a vacant home and a displaced family of four moved in to have a roof over their heads. On December 12th M&T Bank flew representatives from Buffalo to Atlanta to evict.

M&T Bank had a choice. Our proposal was that M&T Bank donate the empty home to a designated non-profit, and in turn receive a sizable tax write off while at the same time allowing a homeless family to have a roof, warmth, and stability. Instead of responding with communication, M&T Bank flew down representatives from Buffalo just to personally evict a homeless family that needed this abandoned home for shelter and stability in the winter. The bankers showed up with a legion of police officers and subsidized support for this injustice with thousands of dollars worth of our city's resources and arrested four people who were committing civil disobedience.

All of this happened in a part of Atlanta with a nearly 50% house vacancy rate. From the front porch of 1043 Windsor Street SW (the home from which the eviction took place) seven vacant homes are visible, eight if you include the Windsor Street home itself. After evicting the family the bank spent hundreds of dollars changing locks, boarding up the house, and now has people watch the property day in and day out.

Instead of continuing to spend such sums on defending an empty shell of a home, they could provide housing to a homeless family of four by simply donating the house to Higher Ground Empowerment Center Inc.

We ask that you call M&T President Mark J. Czarnecki at 716-842-5291. Please urge M&T Bank to donate the home and drop the charges against those fighting for housing as a human right.

Thank You,
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta

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