Sunday, October 6, 2013
Over the last three days I've visited residents in Lake Worth, Miami, and Florida. Each stop is part listening project, part housing justice workshop with one goal; to build the housing justice movement in Florida and the South East in general.
This trip has been extremely inspiring. With very little notice or outreach groups of homeowners facing foreclosure/eviction have come together to learn how to use public pressure and direct action to stop financial institutions from taking their homes, and taking their neighbor's homes. It's been especially exciting to see the conversations about affordable housing, challenging the commoditization of housing, and local strategies to build a sustainable movement in Florida.
At each stop the discussion eventually went to what communities believe they need to build a local housing justice movement with a focus on using nonviolent direct action and public pressure. I feel confident we will be seeing not only a handful of new housing justice campaigns launched all over Florida, but I believe that we have at least two strong new groups emerging, maybe more.
Florida has consistently been on the top of the list with foreclosure rates, and one or the most underwater. Florida has also become ground zero for Wall Street's new strategy of buying up bank owned vacants for a fraction of what they were worth just a few years ago.
One of the goals of the tour is to encourage folks to attend a South Eastern Housing Justice Academy organized by American Friends Service Committee and Occupy Our Homes Atlanta. At the academy we hope to provide trainings and direct action experience designed to help folks come up with an action plan to get work started in their communities.
Tomorrow I will be making one last stop In Orlando before heading back to Atlanta.