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|OccupyForum // Steve DeCaprio: Activist for Squatter Rights|
|Date||Monday April 04|
|Time||6:00 PM - 9:00 PM|
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2017 Mission Street at 16th near BART
OccupyForum // Steve DeCaprio: Activist for Squatter Rights
At the end of 2011, there were 3.5 million homeless people in America and 18.5 million vacant homes, according to Amnesty International. Oakland’s Steven DeCaprio is doing his part to fix that disparity.
Fighting for Squatter Rights
While the idea of squatting is nothing new, DeCaprio’s approach to “occupying,” as he prefers to call it, is unique. DeCaprio has exhaustively researched and educated himself on a widely misunderstood law called adverse possession.
Simply put, adverse possession states that anyone can legally claim an abandoned home if they establish stable residency in the space and maintain it, assuming no prior owner comes forward proving ownership within a specific period of time. The trick, of course, is dealing with law enforcement that doesn’t understand the concept and views DeCaprio and others like him as simple trespassers.
Countless run-ins with the police have motivated DeCaprio to become familiar enough with the law that he now counsels other squatters on how to successfully defend themselves from the system. He’s set up an advocacy organization called Land Action, which fights on behalf of fellow occupiers facing eviction.
Though he acknowledges it hasn’t been easy, DeCaprio says the success and growing enthusiasm he’s seen keeps him motivated. “These occupations are more focused on direct action rather than symbolic action,” said DeCaprio. “I am excited by this development because I think it is a more effective model for change during a time such as this when the political processes are so compromised.” (UTNE Reader)
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