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Ours to LoseWhen Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City$
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Amy Starecheski

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226399805

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226400006.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2019

Making the Deal: Debating the Values of Housing

Making the Deal: Debating the Values of Housing

(p.119) Chapter 3 Making the Deal: Debating the Values of Housing
Ours to Lose

Amy Starecheski

University of Chicago Press

Squatters’ legal and physical resistance to eviction on East 13th Street and elsewhere became a powerful bargaining chip. In Chapter Three the book transitions from a historical study of squatting to an ethnographic study of legalization, with an analysis of how extended negotiations to craft the legalization deal forced the squatters, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, and local politicians like Margarita Lopez to wrestle with the meaning of homeownership. As the costs of renovations mounted, they debated whether legalization was a good idea at all, and then if and how they could keep the buildings affordable as limited-equity co-operatives for themselves and their successors. How exactly could they translate the value of their labor and the values of their movement into a legal agreement that set a price on their homes? The squatters had always been diverse and decentralized, and the negotiations brought out latent disagreements that sometimes became bitter arguments. Had they been part of a movement to secure permanent low-income housing? Or had they been building shelter and equity for themselves and their families? Did they want stability or freedom or both, and how could they get them?

Keywords:   low income housing, homeownership, limited equity cooperatives, labor, squatting, Lower East Side, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, mortgage, Margarita Lopez, affordable housing

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