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Indybay Feature

Homes Not Jails Housing Takeover in San Francisco

by Michael Steinberg (blackrainpress [at]
Squatter's group Homes Not Jails occupied a long empty apartment building in San Francisco owned by Kaiser Permanente.
Homes Not Jails took over a large long vacant apartment building at the corner of Divisadero and O'Farrell, off Geary, in San Francisco today.

The building is owned by Kaiser Permanente, the HMO empire whose colossal hospital buildings dominate the medical landscape across California.

When I got home a while ago and told my housemate about the action and the location of the building, he recognized it. "They kicked a bunch of families out," he said, referring to Kaiser, "and it's been empty ever since."

On the front of the building a large banner proclaimed, "Kaiser Thrives, People Die." The cruel irony of a gigantic organization supposedly in the healing business intentionally keeping people from living in a perfectly good, and large, building, and for a long time, became perfectly clear though today's occupation.

"The fact that anyone is homeless in a city with so many vacancies is a crime," one supporter in front of the building called out. "This is a situation we will resolve."

By this time is was dusk, and a half moon was shining down on us on the street. Occupiers showed themselves periodically, as we gathered in front of doors stamped with the stock capitalist slogan "Private Property No Trespassing."

At one point occupiers lowered a bucket and a supporter removed it contents. This incensed the cops who were guarding the abandoned building. A few marched over and forbid further such actions. "They're trespassers and we aren't going to let you give them food," one of SF's finest shouted.

A while later I heard a legal observer tell a supporter that an owner, or agent thereof, had signed a trespassing complaint, giving the police legal grounds to enter the building. And that the cops had done so.

Supporters started chanting "No More Vacancies, Occupy Everything!" and "Food Not Bombs, Homes Not Jails!"

By this time it was dark, and looked even darker inside the building. The cops may have entered it, but finding anyone inside the big chronically empty space would be quite another matter.

We all waited quite a while but by 8:30, about when I left, no one had emerged from the building.

As I was walking away, I heard a child of about two among the remaining supporters singing out, "Homes Not Bombies!"

Today's action started with a rally in the Panhandle, followed by a march to Haight Street, then down Haight to Divisadero, and from there to the occupation site.

Homes Not Jails has been using non-violent direct action to take over empty buildings in San Francisco and beyond since 1992. For more info go to

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Tue, Apr 19, 2011 12:36PM
The red son
Sat, Apr 16, 2011 5:05PM
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Post it as a comment here.
Tue, Apr 12, 2011 5:10PM
mark g
Tue, Apr 12, 2011 12:41PM
The red son
Tue, Apr 12, 2011 10:13AM
someone else
Tue, Apr 12, 2011 9:57AM
someone who lives nearby
Tue, Apr 12, 2011 8:29AM
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