[Hpn] Homes Not Jails DC drops banner on Bush, occupies vacant HUD house - press release house - press release

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Fri, 19 Jan 2001 13:22:51 -0800 (PST)

FWD  January 18, 2001 - Washington, D.C. USA
     REPLY TO: <HNJ-DC@homesnotjails.org>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - please circulate


Contacts: Jennifer Kirby 202-297-4430 or 202-332-6558
          Nadine Green 202-285-0023


     Homeless advocates mark death of D.C. homeless with banner drop

Washington, DC - This morning at 11 a.m., homeless advocates, including
members of Homes Not Jails, D.C., the Homeless Association and other
organizations hung from an empty HUD-owned home a banner that reads,
"HOUSING FOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR PROFIT." Activists also carried cardboard
coffins to the home, located at 3602 New Hampshire Ave. NW, stacked them
there, and hung a second banner that says, "OUR PEOPLE FREEZE OUTSIDE EMPTY

Today's direct action was one of several events organized by activists
opposed to the inauguration of George W. Bush. VIDEO AND PHOTOS ARE

"Homes Not Jails is taking direct action as part of the inaugural protests
because we see the current administration's devastating impacts on homeless
and poor people only further worsening with the new administration," said
Jennifer Kirby of Homes Not Jails.

Added Nadine Green, a homeless mother who took direct action to address her
housing needs: "Those in power are making decisions with no involvement
from the people who are most affected by things like welfare 'deform.'
Right now, the system is set up to fail." Green waited 10 years for help
from the Section 8 offices.

The empty home Homes Not Jails targeted today is one of the many homes HUD
is auctioning off at market rate to investors and corporations such as
Citigroup. There are hundreds of other empty HUD-owned homes around the
city, some of which lie vacant for years before being auctioned off.

Some of these homes are kept warm to prevent pipes from freezing. "We
believe it is criminal for a government agency to sit on warm, empty houses
and to then auction them off at market rate when people are freezing to
death on DC's streets," Kirby said.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, hypothermia is one of
the top five causes of death among homeless people. Title V of the Stewart
B. McKinney Act, passed in 1987, states that surplus buildings and land
owned by federal agencies must go to serve the homeless. The activists feel
that HUD is not doing what it is legally mandated to do.

On Thanksgiving Day, Homes Not Jails took over a vacant HUD house at 1959
H. St. NE. They continue to occupy the house.



On Thanksgiving day, Washington DC housing activists with a homeless
family occupied a house in Northeast Washington DC to fix it up and make
it permanent housing for the family. A month and a half later they're
still there.   http://www.homesnotjails.org Realaudio interview:

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