Bolton is 55 and lives in East New York, Brooklyn, an hour’s train ride from the skyscrapers of Manhattan’s financial district, where the movement was born. But when occupiers appeared on her block this week, as part of a new national campaign to help homeless families move into vacant houses and resist foreclosure-related evictions, she opened her door. “Occupy Wall Street came to me. I didn’t go seek it out,” she said, standing on her porch, wearing a navy turban and a pink sweatshirt, large silver hoops dangling from her ears. “I always wanted to be involved in something positive that was beneficial to everyone.”
Since 2006, more than 4 million American homes have been taken over by banks, according to RealtyTrac, a California-based real estate data firm.
A map of East New York foreclosures on RealtyTrac’s website looks like it came down with chicken pox.
A recent report spells out the danger this holds for neighborhoods: More vacancies lead to declining property values and tax revenues, crime rises, and a vicious cycle ensues.