How Host an Occupier was born:
The Host an Occupier project was initiated on Saturday, the 29th of October, when the first snow storm hit New York City and Occupy Wall Street. Occupiers were dealing with the wet cold snow in Liberty Square as best they could. Some hunkering down in wet tents and wrapping themselves in emergency blankets; some help up in local cafes, McDonald’s, and indoor public spaces; others walked around the park checking on people, passing out warm socks, hand warmers, emergency blankets, hot tea, and coffee. One such occupier who was passing out warm things to people in tents decided to try to find some warmer places for people to sleep for the night, wanting to help people stay healthy and warm. Gathering forces with some other occupiers they called local churches asking if anyone would be willing to take in cold and wet occupiers for a night. When nothing worked they prevailed, deciding to put out a call for help online. Posting contact information via twitter and the NYCGA website website they waited to see if help would come. Moments later the phone began to ring, the people of NYC were ready to help. By the end of the night there were about twenty occupiers that were able to leave cold and wet tents to go to a warm place to sleep, and more offers were still coming in.
Through this experience it was learned that there are many people in and around NYC who are interested in supporting Occupy Wall Street by giving occupiers warm, cozy, and relaxing places to sleep!
What is Host an Occupier:
Host an Occupier is a project of the Housing Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. The purpose of this project is to help occupiers find warm and cozy places to sleep, a relaxing break, and to connect with people around New York City.
More than just a practical solution to the shelter issue, the goal of our private hosting effort is to broaden the occupy movement to involve new and diverse participants. Build bridges between local residents who aren’t sure how to plug in to the movement, and are interested in meeting occupiers and helping as they’re able.
Who is Host an Occupier:
Host an Occupier is comprised of a diverse group of occupiers who are interested in helping the Occupy Wall Street community and is working in collaboration with the artist collective Wooloo and community organizer Todd Lester. Back in 2009, Wooloo coordinated a similar hospitality project at the COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the group recruited more than 3,000 local residents to open their homes and host protesters for the climate mobilization, and Todd started freeDimensional , a network that uses vacant artist residency bedrooms/apartments to host activists in distress around the world. They have seen this approach work before and are excited to see it work again here in New York!
As the occupy movement picks up speed and distributes itself to new – less centralized – places, we invite you and other New Yorkers to host an occupier for as long or short as you can.
To sign up as a host now, CLICK HERE!
We would like to recognize and thank the Law Office of Rankin & Taylor for their ongoing help and collaboration!