Homes Not Jails

HNJ was formed in 1992 to advocate for the use of vacant and abandoned housing for people who are are homeless. With people literally dying on the sidewalks in front of vacant buildings, housing advocates, homeless advocates, and people who were homeless came together to find ways to utilize vacant buildings.

Homes Not Jails is an all-volunteer nation-wide direct action housing advocacy movement. Since our government fails to provide housing for those in need, and seems only interested in putting more poor people in jail, Homes Not Jails is providing housing by any means necessary.

Homes Not Jails operates on two levels:

Public Actions & Legislative Advocacy ­ To demonstrate the availability of vacant housing and to promote proposals to utilize the housing, HNJ will publicly occupy vacant buildings. These are civil disobedience actions. Over the years, there have been many such occupations which have been used to promote awareness of the need to utilize vacant buildings and to promote legislative solutions.

Squatting ­ Realizing that government would be slow to act to utilize vacant buildings for housing - and that people need housing now - HNJ simultaneously opens up vacant buildings and helps people who are homeless move in. Since 1992, hundreds of these "squats" have been opened. Many have lasted for years and recently Homes Not Jails filed for legal ownership (after paying the property taxes) of a squat opened in 1993 ­ a process known as adverse possession.

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