[Imc-miami] Press Release: Community Takes Over Land in Miami, to Build Shanty Town
JollyJack at aol.com
JollyJack at aol.com
Mon Oct 23 19:12:30 UTC 2006
Community Groups Take Over Public Land
'Take Back the Land' Building Shanty Town to House Homeless
Monday, October 23, 2006
for immediate release
Citing disillusionment with the ability of the "system" to serve the needs
of the poor Black community, and in the wake of the latest government housing
scandal, several organizations and individuals, under the leadership of the
Center for Pan-African Development, occupied public land today and is building
a shanty town to house the homeless and those living in squalor.
The shanty town is under construction on the corner of 62nd St. and NW 17
th Ave. in the Liberty City section of Miami as of 3:00pm today. The lot is
owned by the city of Miami and has been vacant for years, since the City
purchased, and subsequently demolished, the low rent apartment complex at the
The move is a direct response to the housing crisis, including the recently
publicized government housing scandals, and the corresponding gentrification
of Black communities in Miami-Dade county.
"During this housing crisis, local officials have been decreasing the number
of affordable housing units, while, simultaneously, making developers
richer by stealing from the poor," argues Max Rameau, one of the organizers of the
shanty town. Citing the HOPE VI project which destroyed 851 units of public
housing and the over 1,000 vacant public housing units, Rameau asserts that
"far from relieving the crisis, government has been deliberately exacerbating
it" in order to reward their politically connected friends at the expense of
Rameau concludes the community is out of options. "We are left with little
choice: either continue to rely on the fox to provide security for the chicken
coop or do it ourselves. The city and the county have no interest in housing
poor Black people, so we will do it ourselves."
The shanty town is legal under the landmark Pottinger Settlement, a court
supervised guideline for treating the homeless. The settlement was reached
after years of city of Miami abuse of the homeless. Pottinger dictates that the
homeless cannot be arrested for engaging in "Life Sustaining Conduct,"
including public nudity related to calls of nature or bathing, eating, sleeping in
public and maintaining "temporary structures." The shanty town enables the
homeless to conduct "life sustaining" business together in one public location
instead of separately in several locations.
The shanty town is a long term project designed to house homeless people,
not a short term tent city. Volunteers will train residents to run the town
themselves, enhancing the long term viability of the project.
Other participating organizations include Hope for the Homeless and
Hopeless, Inc., Brothers of the Same Mind, N'COBRA and Downward Mobility.
Max Rameau, Center for Pan-African Development, _afrimax at gmail.com _
(mailto:afrimax at gmail.com) 786-556-6881
_amandaseaton2004 at yahoo.com_ (mailto:amandaseaton2004 at yahoo.com) 305-978-8612
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