Monday, November 30, 2009

NYC foreclosures

The Daily News highlights the situation in South Jamaica, where subprime loans and subsequent foreclosures have had harsh consequences on many streets.

The article's terminology is a bit misleading, though: most of the people quoted are not really squatters. They were renting the homes when the owners hit financial trouble and, essentially, abandoned the properties. So they are not squatters. They are tenants. And there ought to be a law that, when owners abandon a property, the tenants get the opportunity to keep the electricity on--because burning candles and kerosene lamps can lead to fires. If the owners walk away from the properties, the banks should also make an effort to keep the services on for the tenants who are left in dire conditions through no fault of their own.

Monday, November 23, 2009

denial in Delhi

Rather than do anything to improve the lives of squatters and street hawkers, the Mayor of the Indian capital wants to force them to get "bio-metric, bio-cryptic photo identity cards" and proposes to charge them 400 rupees--or almost $9 each--for the privilege.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Manila eviction

780,000 squatters will soon lose their homes in the Philippine capital, Manila Standard Today reports.

There definitely need to be some changes to avoid more deaths due to flooding. But where will the city put these people? Don't they have rights? Shouldn't the city be working with them to find appropriate solutions?

Jakarta's Housing Shortfall

Jakarta needs about 70,000 housing units every year to cater to its growing population, but the city administration is only able to provide 20 percent of that figure. That's one of the facts contained in this worthy article from The Jakarta Globe.

'Soweto' in Rome

Ponte Mammolo is a mostly Eritrean shantytown in the center of Rome. SF Bay View has the details, including a short youtube clip.

Check out this horrific detail: in order to avoid detection and deportation if they are arrested, these immigrants often try to remove their fingerprints so they cannot be identified:
There are three ways commonly used to remove fingerprints. Refugees burn their own fingerprints and palm prints with a lit cigarette. This painstaking and slow process can take several hours. It leaves their fingers and hands in constant pain and unusable. Soon blisters appear and infection can spread.

Another method used by many refugees is to place their hands directly over a gas, charcoal or electric stove or immerse them in scalding water to remove their fingerprints and palm prints. This is no less painful than using a lit cigarette.

The third process requires rub sandpaper against their skin. It may seem comparatively less painful, but not so. Two or three days of rubbing their fingers and palms with sand paper to entirely remove the top skin leaves their hands raw and bloody.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Going Dutch

The Netherlands seems poised to demolish the 1970s law that made squatting legal so long as a building had been vacant for a year.
'On Thursday, a parliamentary majority consisting of centre-right parties voted in support of the so-called Squatting Ban, a bill drafted by Christian Democrat MP Jan ten Hoopen. Housing Minister Eberhard van der Laan has already let it be known that he will not stand in the way of the bill. While not a fervent advocate of the ban, he regards non-occupancy as "an issue that's too important to be left to the squatters".'

Radio Netherlands Worldwide
has the sad details.