One new initiative from the 99 Percent Movement is Occupy Our Homes, which aims to help victims of the foreclosure crisis. Although this effort has not been formerly named until now, communities have already seen remarkable success by planning to occupy homes threatened with foreclosure.
The Occupy protests got yet another victory last week in Rochester, New York. The Steidels contacted Take Back the Land and Occupy Rochester in September, and were soon joined by over 100 people who protested at Wells Fargo and foreclosure firm Steven J. Baum’s offices. If necessary, the groups threatened to encamp on the property; however, the mortgage giant Freddie Mac recently backed down, likely due to support from the public and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY).
This focus on helping shielding families from foreclosures helps answer the question of how the demonstrators will regroup for the winter. From Salon:
“This is a shift from protesting Wall Street fraud to taking action on behalf of people who were harmed by it. It brings the movement into the neighborhoods and gives people a sense of what’s really at stake,” said Max Berger, one of the Occupy Our Homes organizers and a member of Occupy Wall Street’s movement-building working group. The backdrop for all this is a new study suggesting the foreclosure crisis is only half over, with 4 million homes in some stage of foreclosure.
In a city like Rochester, there is ample opportunity to take action on behalf of those in need. Rochester has one of the highest children’s poverty rates at 43 percent as well as a poor city school system where only 5 percent of high school graduates meet minimum standards for college, compared to 72 percent in wealthier districts.