Homes Not Jails
For Meetings and Upcoming Events See the Homes Not Jails Website
What Is Homes Not Jails?
Homes Not Jails 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.
HNJ operates on two levels:
Public Actions and 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.
Since the government has been slow to act to utilize vacant buildings for housing, and people need housing now, Homes Not Jails 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 Homes Not Jails filed for legal ownership (after paying the property taxes) of a squat opened in 1993, a process known as adverse possession.