Over the past two years in Catalonia, Spain, more than 700 people have made empty houses owned by banks their new homes thanks to the support of the Platform of People Affected by the Mortgage, or PAH. In Andalusia, another 400 people have used a similar strategy to re-appropriate bank-owned buildings. The idea of a large-scale public takeover of empty buildings to house evicted people, or people under threat of eviction, began to develop in the summer of 2011 among members of PAH. At that time in Andalusia people had already begun their own campaigns for housing rights. They are not members of PAH, but the objective and the strategy was the same: squat in empty houses owned by banks and ask for subsidized rent.
“We have contact with these families, but they organize on their own,” said Juanjo García, a member of the housing committee of the 15M movement in Seville, which arose from the encampments of mid-2011. “There are 269 squatted houses in three zones, and they will fight for their rights.”