On Tuesday, the Occupy movement, which has conducted prolonged protests across the country on issues ranging from foreclosure and unemployment to a massive pay gap among the highest-paid and lowest-paid U.S. workers, called for a national day of action to "Occupy Our Homes."
In 25 cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Minneapolis, Denver, New York, Miami, Atlanta and others, hundreds of homes to be foreclosed upon were occupied by their former owners and supporting occupy protesters.
Occupying foreclosed homes is the latest permutation of the Occupy movement as it begins to migrate from city plazas to neighborhoods and their foreclosed-upon and abandoned homes.
According to RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosures, auctions and bank-owned homes, there are currently an estimated 1.38 million U.S. homes in a foreclosure process.
"The bank is either going to work with me on loan modification or it will have to get the police to throw me out," said Art de los Santos, of Riverside, Calif., who said he learned of the Occupy Our Homes movement and decided, with some Occupy Los Angeles supporters, to re-enter his June 2011-foreclosed home on Tuesday.
De los Santos says he makes enough money now to cover his original house payments and enough to qualify for loan modification, but the bank had denied his most recent loan-mod application. The home was auctioned by the bank, but had not sold, which prompted him to consider reoccupying it.
California has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country; in October 2011 alone, 55,132 housing units, representing 1 in 243 housing units, were foreclosed upon, according to RealtyTrac.
The "Occupy Our Homes" movement gained traction last month from Minneapolis resident Monique White, who asked for help from the local Occupy movement to occupy her home when she learned of its foreclosure. "I didn’t realize it was going to be this hard," said White in a short film made about her effort to keep her home.