A Common Housing Alternative – Squatting

I read that public housing has become a ‘tarnished state project, so stigmatised in the public’s view’. Well if you think council housing has a bad name, then consider most people’s attitude to squatting. The mere mention of it sends middle England completely potty.

Taking over abandoned empty buildings to make a home is actually quite a common, if mostly temporary, housing solution for millions of people around the world. According to Advisory Service for Squatters there are at least 20,000 squatters in England and Wales, although in Scotland it’s a criminal offence.

Even the president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez has recommended it, encouraging poor Venezuelans to occupy disused land apparently ‘prompting a wave of squats that is rattling Venezuela’s middle class.’ Chavez is definitely on to something when he claims the rich keep all the best land, often leaving it sitting unused. Cities for the rich suggests the same; poorer households are displaced by higher-income households and property investors, also known as gentrification.

Squatting 4 Dummys suggests squatting, or housing liberation as they term it, can be a force for positive change, ‘especially one rooted in its neighborhood community’.

An example in Bristol of successful resistance to eviction against infamous bailiffs Constant & Co. (For more on these ‘gypsy eviction specialists’ read this and this). And this: homeless evicted from former homeless advice centre.

In France a group have occupied a building in upmarket Paris. And recently a London group reclaimed a Grade I listed building in central London.

squatter sounds youtube channel

Advisory Service for Squatters

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