Picture the Homeless, a New York City based homeless rights organization, has liberated a vacant lot in the Manhattan Borough of New York City and is currently building a Tent City there. I just spoke to Picture the Homeless leader and organizer Rob Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he informed me they are erecting tents and moving homeless people into them. The land, located on the 115th St., between Madison and 5th Ave., is owned by JP Morgan/Chase, but it is not controlled by Picture the Homeless for the benefit of human beings, not corporations.
The movement to liberate land and elevate housing to the level of a human right is growing. Take Back the Land supports Picture the Homeless (www.picturethehomeless.org) and other organization working for the right to housing. Updates, including pictures of the liberation, are coming this afternoon.
What can you do to support?
- If you are in NYC, go to 115th St., between Madison and 5th Ave. in Manhattan and show your support. A press conference is scheduled for 1:00pm.
- Email your support to Picture the Homeless from their website (www.picturethehomeless.org).
- Call Mayor Bloomberg's office and tell him to allow Picture the Homeless to house people on that lot. Hands Off Picture the Homeless! You must leave a message with 311-NYC by calling 212-639-9675.
- Talk to people and organizations in your community about liberating land.
Land for people not for profit!
Take Back the Land
From: Tej Nagaraja <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 11:06 AM
Subject: [PTH friends] *breaking news* Homeless 'tent city' occupation in NYC [press release, July 23]
To: Tej Nagaraja <firstname.lastname@example.org>
** Breaking News: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ** Thursday, July 23, 2009
Contact: Tej Nagaraja (646) 302-5769
Updates: http://picturethehomeless.org/blog & http://twitter.com/pthny #tentcitynyc
Location—come!: 115th Street between Madison and 5th Avenues, Manhattan
First on-site press conference scheduled for 1pm—on-site PTH members and neighborhood residents available for interview at all times.
Homeless New Yorkers Occupy Vacant Lot, Create Tent City, Demand Change
Call for city government to meet need of low-income residents, not greed of big banks
MANHATTAN—On Thursday at 11:00 AM, members of Picture the Homeless orchestrated a spirited occupation of a warehoused (vacant) lot, currently owned by the firm JPMorgan Chase, a recent beneficiary of billions in taxpayer bailout money.
Homeless New Yorkers and their allies turned a fenced-off grassy lot in El Barrio/East Harlem into a vibrant Tent City, creatively adorned with makeshift dwellings, colorful art and banners. Under the slogan "NYC: A Place to Call Home," they demanded that warehoused lots and buildings be accounted for by the city, and transformed into housing for poor and homeless people.
Jean Rice, a homeless New Yorker: "Today, Picture the Homeless sends a message that land use must take into account the common good—as housing for the needy, not warehoused assets for the greedy."
Hundreds rallied in support of the bold action. The organizers have invited local musicians to perform, faith leaders and community activists to engage the crowd—and community members to feast on barbecue, and discuss and debate the challenges and struggles all low-income New Yorkers face.
Picture the Homeless members note that more families are homeless now than when Mayor Bloomberg took office. When confronted with his policy failures earlier this month, the Mayor could only say that so many remain homeless because he's made shelters "more attractive." For Chase's part, New York Times quoted an executive during the October bailout: "Twenty-five billion dollars is obviously going to help the folks who are struggling more than Chase."
Picture the Homeless member Sophia Bryant: "The government and banks have failed miserably. Homeless people know what the problems are, and we have ideas for the solutions. Since they won't listen, the time is now for people to take action. We don't want shelters—we want decent housing. We will build what we need!"
Picture the Homeless
List info: https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/pth