[URBANTH-L]NEWS: Neighbors Helping Neighbors - to BreakintoVacantHouses

Chris Caruso chris.caruso at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 19:48:37 EST 2009

Great thread!

I wanted to recommend a great documentary film that's useful for
introducing this topic to undergraduates.  It's called "Takeover" and
was made by Skylight Pictures, Academy Award winning documentary
film-makers based in New York.  Here's their description of the

"Takeover: On May 1st, 1990, homeless people in eight cities around
the country seized empty (HUD) federal housing simultaneously. It was
the first national coordinated homeless housing takeover ever.
Documentary film-makers Skylight Pictures followed the takeovers with
12 crews in the eight cities, documenting the secret planning, the
illegal occupations, and the hopeful aftermath of this bold endeavor.
An official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, broadcast on PBS
on the P.O.V. series. Released theatrically at The Film Forum (New
York City)."

You can see a preview here:

The full length version of this documentary is an hour, but there is
also a 20 minute version available as part of the DVD called "Living
Broke in Boom Times".  Preview available here:


I've used these films with several undergraduate classes and found
them to be very thought provoking.


Chris Caruso

Doctoral Candidate
CUNY Graduate Center

Instructional Technology Fellow
City College

More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list