May 17th Press Release



For Immediate Release: May 17, 2010

Contacts: Rachel Krueger, 920-410-6022,

Take Back the Land – Madison Hosts Volunteer Clean Up on Vacant, Bank-Owned Home

Madison action is part of national Take Back the Land effort to elevate housing to the level of a human right

Madison, WI – Monday, May 17:  Take Back the Land – Madison (TBL-M) held a press conference and volunteer clean up at a vacant, bank-owned house today on Madison’s Southside.  With the goal of preparing the duplex to move in homeless families, TBL-M discarded broken glass, mowed the lawn and planted flowers. The group is asking that this house and other vacant rental properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be turned over to a community land trust so that vacant land can be used for the community’s benefit.

One of the house’s previous residents, Robert McGee, explained, “I rented this property for nearly two years and kept the property clean and in good condition. I cared for this neighborhood but last year this house was foreclosed on and I was forced to move out.  Now it is empty and run-down. How does this benefit Madison?”

Members of TBL-M are asking that the house’s owner, Freddie Mac, turn the property over to a community land trust so that it can be turned into affordable housing.  TBL-M spokesperson Monica Adams stated, “We all know that Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae have received $145 billion in bailout money and Freddie Mac just received another $10.6 billion in taxpayer funds.  It’s theft for these banks to receive all this taxpayer money and get to keep these vacant houses.  Instead, we want these houses to be given to the community to be turned into affordable housing for low-income families.”

Max Rameau, of the national Take Back the Land Movement, was also present at the press conference.  Max stated, “These live-ins are taking place across the country.  Madison can serve as a model for how to get this done.”  Community groups across the U.S. are participating in the May 2010 Month of Action commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first civil rights era sit-ins in Greensboro, NC.  Groups in over a dozen cities across the country are performing “live-ins” by moving families into vacant government-owned and foreclosed homes or physically defending families from eviction and foreclosure. The objective of these campaigns is to build a national movement to elevate housing to the level of a human right and gain community control over land.

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