M&T Eviction Leaves Another Vacant Home In AtlantaShab Bashiri on December 19, 2012
On the D6, a national day of action for housing justice that took place on December 6, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta helped move a homeless family into a bank owned home in the Pittsburgh Community of Atlanta. Last week, M & T Bank, who now owns the home after foreclosing on it earlier this year, moved to evict the family from the home.
From an email to supporters sent by Occupy Our Homes Atlanta:
In Southwest Atlanta neighborhoods, vacant homes are a fact of life. These neighborhoods have been emptied by the foreclosure a crisis and banks now own about 25% of all property in the neighborhood, much of it sitting empty or unused. At the same time, our homeless population continues to grow. There are currently seven empty homes for every homeless person in Atlanta. On December 6, we took a step to correct that ratio. Occupy Our Homes Atlanta members, Reneka and Michelene, along with their two children, Dillon and Jahla, who have been without a home for the last six months, moved into a vacant home owned by M & T Bank and demanded that it be turned over to a non-profit. This home should be controlled by the community it's in, not Wall Street.
Our bold and exciting action asserted not only the rights of people to stay in their homes, but the rights of communities to take control of vacant homes that the bank has foreclosed on and put them to good use-- like providing shelter to a homeless family. We occupied the house at 1043 Windsor Street for two reasons. 1)To provide shelter for a family that had none, 2)to keep yet another home in Pittsburgh from being stripped bare and being used for drugs, prostitution, or even rape.
However, instead of responding to our numerous attempts at communication, M & T Bank flew representatives down from Buffalo, NY last week to evict the family, board up the house, and ensure that their vacant home is not put to good use.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has created a petition demanding that M & T Bank turn the home over to a non-profit, where it can be a source of stability for the family as well as the neighborhood, and keep the home out of the hands of speculators and investors that leave neighborhoods like Pittsburgh empty and blighted.