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New occupiers: Homeless New York family to get a house

Sam Lewis

Natasha Glasgow, 30, her husband Alfredo Carrasquillo, 27, and children Alfredo, Jr., 5, and Tanisha, 9, will have a new home Tuesday if "Occupy" protesters and housing activists succeed in forcing their way into a vacant foreclosed home in Brooklyn.

A New York family with two children that has been living on and off in shelters for more than a decade will move into a new home on Tuesday, say housing activists and ‘Occupy’ protesters who intend to force their way into a foreclosed house in Brooklyn later in the day.

"We are going to liberate the house,” said Sean Barry, of VOCAL-NY, which has been working to prevent homelessness for 10,000 low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS and their families. "We want to make a public stance … for people to take sides."

The home that protesters aim to give to the Glasgow family -- which is not affected by HIV/AIDS – is in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, which has foreclosure and underwater rates that are nearly three times greater than that of New York state, Barry said, citing data from the housing and property database ListSource. 

The move-in is part of a national day of action coordinated by the 'Occupy' movement and housing activists in some 25 cities and towns, such as Petaluma, Calif., Southgate, Mich., Atlanta and Denver.

Activists and protesters plan to march to the Brooklyn home, where they will hold a housewarming party for them -- mother Natasha, 30, father Alfredo Carrasquillo, 27, and children Alfredo, Jr., 5, and Tanisha, 9 -- and then begin renovations. Carrasquillo is a community organizer at VOCAL-NY.

Rob Robinson of Take Back the Land, a national network of organizations focused on housing rights and securing community control over land, said the protesters plan to resist any efforts by authorities to remove the family from the home in a low-income neighborhood that's home to mostly African-Americans and Latinos.

"I am going to put up a real defense," said Robinson, who will serve as the police negotiator. "Until a judge tells us we have to leave, we're not leaving that house, so the family is in that house to stay. We're not ... disruptive, we do nonviolent civil disobedience. We call it positive action."

The 'Occupy' movement served as an inspiration for housing activists, who have been trying to help homeowners facing foreclosure keep their residences.

"Like September 17, when Occupy Wall Street started, people looked at it and there was this real question, 'Is this going to last? how is it going to grow?' and one of the reasons it grew is that as people stayed down at Zuccotti Park ... other people were inspired to take action," said Matt Browner Hamlin, an activist with occupyourhomes.org. "This is not something (where) ... we want a family to have a home for a day, we want them to have that home for a lifetime."

And for 'Occupy,' the initiative gives them a new focus after the dismantling of many of their encampments nationwide.

"It’s part of a national day of action that we hope will kick off a wave of defenses and home reoccupations,” Max Berger, 26, told the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly late last week while requesting $6,400 in funding to buy tools for the project. "This is not just about one event; this is a huge frontier for us. We can do these kinds of actions all the time, and we should. And it doesn’t have to be just us. We got to do this one right so we can inspire people to do it theirselves.”

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