OWS Shifts Focus to Foreclosed Homes
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UPDATED: Dec 7, 2011
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At first it was Wall Street, last week it was student loans, and now the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has shifted focus to foreclosed homes.
Consisting of strategic defaulters, victims of mortgage loan fraud, the unemployed and those who are simply upset with the nation’s financial institutions, the OWS movement joined forces with local community groups and marched through East New York. The former president of ACORN, Bertha Lewis, explained their presence in a Village Voice article, saying, “It is no mistake that we are here in East New York today… East New York has become Ground Zero for predatory lending.”
The protestors ended their march in a Brooklyn neighborhood, where they repossessed a home that was foreclosed on and sitting vacant for three years. While occupying the home, protestors are renovating and fixing it up for a homeless family that was evicted from their residence three years ago for defaulting on their home loan. The family consists of a man named Alfred Carrasquillo, his wife and two children.
A Warm Welcome
The OWS is not only renovating the foreclosed home, but has also pledged to protect it and its inhabitants from eviction.
“We’ll stay until we win the house for the family, and as soon as we’re not needed we’ll leave,” explained a 26 year old protestor named Max Berger in a report by the New York Post.
As the family first entered the house, protestors and volunteers awarded them with house warming gifts.
“This moment is really special,” Carrasquillo said in a report by The Associated Press. “I just want to say I appreciate every single one of you,” as he addressed the crowd of protestors.
With the demonstrations now trespassing onto private property, some protestors are evoking the ire of the New York police. One demonstrator who was participating in a protest against a notice of eviction for another neighborhood occupant was arrested after a resident had asked him to leave his property, as reported by the New York Post.
Carrasquillo referenced the New York City police, saying, “Hopefully they won’t bother me in my bed at 2 a.m.”
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler recently sent a letter to the state’s Attorney General regarding possible police misconduct and the OWS movement.
He expressed no interest in their inaction to prevent squatting on private property, however.
A police spokesperson said officers “accommodated lawful protest and made arrests when unlawful conduct was observed.”
The Public’s Support—or Lack Thereof
Message boards across the internet have been booming with responses to recent reports of this latest OWS focus. Many express militant support, while others offer practical and legal admonition. But a resounding voice amongst the internet community come from those homeowners who financed or are currently financing their home with a home loan.
Many recent and current mortgage loan holders are enraged that this movement seeks to reward those who were unable or unwilling to pay off their home loan.
Opposition for the OWS movement has existed since its creation, but the line between opposition and support was typically drawn between the two major political parties. Now, however, the OWS’s new endeavor is drawing the disapproval from home loan holders—a group where political affiliation is irrelevant, as the deeper issue of personal finance unites them.
This is the group that has—so far— weathered the financial crisis. But their anger is growing as they see their hard earned money going toward satisfying their home loan, while others’ lawless actions allow them to acquire property of their own.