Take Back the Land Rochester believes that housing should be a human right, not a commodity. We believe that housing and land should be controlled by the community, not the banks. In order to elevate housing to a human right and gain community control over land we defend people from foreclosure-related evictions and assist homeless people to move into vacant, bank-owned homes. In this process we aim to take bank-controlled land and turn it back to our community in the form of community land trusts—where housing can be taken off the speculative market. As long as housing occurs at the whim of the banks and the market homelessness and poverty will plague our community forever. In short, housing should be for people not for profit. That's why we're taking back the land!
Take Back the Land Rochester is a Local Action Group of the Take Back the Land Movement which is trans-local network that spans across the country, from Miami to Portland. The following are Take Back the Land's principles and objectives.
The Take Back the Land Movement is rooted in the following principles:
- Housing is a human right
- Local community control over land and housing
- Leadership by impacted communities, particularly low income women of color
- Direct action oriented campaigns
The overarching objective of the Take Back the Land Movement correlate significantly with our principles :
- Fundamentally transform land relationships
- Elevate housing to the level of a human right
- Community control over land and housing
- Empower impacted communities, particularly low income communities of color
In order to achieve these movement objectives, we must design and implement a series of campaigns, whose objectives support those of the broader movement. Therefore, campaign action areas include:
- Foreclosure related evictions. In the context of the worse housing crisis in memory, evicting families and creating more vacant homes in communities is counterproductive.
- Foreclosed homes. These homes must be filled with families in need of housing.
- Vacant foreclosed and government owned buildings. At a time of such great need, these vacant structures shock the moral conscience. They must be used to housing people.
- Vacant foreclosed and government owned land. Now that “boom” times are over, vacant land must now be returned to the common good.
- Public housing. Public housing must be protected because we cannot afford to lose low-income housing.
- The right to return. Whether through gentrification, public housing demolition or the combination of natural disasters and government actions, those forced to leave their long-time communities must have the right to return.
Land and Housing Action Group Working Papers (USHRN)