Operation Welcome Home
For Immediate Release: May 10, 2010
Z! Haukeness, 608-358-9993, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Krueger, 920-410-6022, email@example.com
Operation Welcome Home Celebrates Moving Family into Vacant Foreclosed Home
Madison action is part of national Take Back the Land effort to elevate housing to the level of a human right
Madison, WI - Monday, May 10: Operation Welcome Home held an open house and press conference at 7201 Tempe Dr. today on Madison's westside to celebrate a family moving into a vacant foreclosed home. Desiree Wilson and her two young children, ages 1 and 4, moved into the house two weeks ago after spending a day cleaning it after it languished for several months after foreclosure.
Operation Welcome Home is a group of homeless people and their allies organizing around the root causes of homelessness. They are fighting for affordable housing, jobs, and an end to criminalization of poverty. Recently they began working with a coalition of local groups working in low-income communities to support families, like Desiree's, who have been hit the hardest by the economic crisis. These groups are taking action in the midst of a housing crisis in Madison and nationwide, in which homes remain vacant due to foreclosures and evictions while too many families with children are homeless.
Wilson, who is employed as an after-school program assistant supervisor, said, "If this isn't neighborhood revitalization, I don't know what is. Folks from Take Back the Land worked with me to make a home out of a house that beforehand was not suitable for a family because it sat empty for so long. The neighbors have welcomed me and my children, and my son has already made new friends."
This housing "live-in" is part of the national Take Back the Land Movement. Community groups across the U.S. are participating in the May 2010 Month of Action commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first civil rights era sit-ins in Greensboro, NC. Groups in over a dozen cities across the country are performing "live-ins" by moving families into vacant government-owned and foreclosed homes or physically defending families from eviction and foreclosure. The objective of these campaigns is to build a national movement to elevate housing to the level of a human right and gain community control over land.
Nathaniel Abrams, an Operation Welcome Home spokesperson, stated: "We are asking City of Madison officials and police to support us in keeping families off the streets. Taxpayers have bailed out the banks, and in turn they put families out through eviction and foreclosure. So now let's bail out families who have been the ones paying the highest costs of this economic crisis we're in."
At the press conference today, Operation Welcome Home and partner groups asked the Madison Police Department and the Dane County Sheriff's Office to not take action against Desiree's family. The house at 7201 Tempe Dr. is bank-owned and will go to auction on May 18. The group also demands that, before this date, the house be turned over to a community land trust so that vacant land can be used for the community's benefit.
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