Socialist Washington Dem hits back at idea of ​​occupying empty houses: ‘I don’t want people to commit crimes’

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Rebecca Parson, a Democratic socialist candidate for Congress in Washington state, posted a video last week saying that if she won her race, people would have to occupy empty houses across the country to help her advance a possible housing bill.

Now it sends a very different message.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Parson said she was referring to houses “owned by banks and Wall Street companies like Zillow and BlackRock.” After a Fox News report identified potential legal issues with occupying someone else’s property, Parson said it wasn’t what she wanted after all.

“I don’t want people to commit a crime,” Parson said.

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Instead, she says, she wants governments to buy these homes and then use them to help the homeless.

“The idea is that there is this crisis situation with people who need housing and then there are 28 empty houses for every homeless person in the country,” said Parson, a member of the Democratic Socialists from America. “So let the federal government or the municipal and local governments use the money to buy these properties and use them for what they are really intended for.”

When asked to clarify whether she was calling on people to occupy the homes or just asking the government to buy them, Parson insisted that was the latter.

“I want people, local and state governments to buy the houses so people can live in them,” she said.

The video doesn’t mention any of that. Parson, who says she was once homeless, can be seen in the video about to go to sleep in her car and then out, walking to a house with a chain-link fence in front and signs reading “Foreclosed by the bank” and “Stay out.” She then pulls the panel down, cuts through the fence, and enters the house.

In the background, the Rage Against the Machine lyrics “I won’t do what you tell me” can be heard.

“I did what they told me: protests, letters, phone calls. Nothing changed,” Parson says in the video. “So I stopped doing what they told me. We occupied empty buildings and got 200 more beds in our town.”

On Wednesday, Fox News asked Parson what she wants people to do but occupy vacant homes. She said they should pressure government officials “through demonstrations outside their offices or peaceful demonstrations outside the Capitol or the White House. Write letters to the editor.”

Washington congressional candidate Rebecca Parson posted a video calling on people to occupy empty homes. In an interview with Fox News, she said what she really wants people to do is get their governments to buy homes for the homeless.
(Ronn Blitzer)

The video, however, offers a much less traditional strategy that Parson says would be effective due to its novelty.

“Imagine me proposing a housing for all bill to Congress. Then imagine you, me, and a million of our friends took action and occupied empty homes all over the country. They couldn’t ignore us,” she says. “No one has ever done anything like this. That’s why it’s going to work.”

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Fox News asked Parson what she means by “imagine yourself, me and a million of our friends” and what she wants them to imagine.

“I tell them to imagine. Look, if you pressure your local government or your congressman or your senator to do something to stop them wringing their hands and saying, ‘Oh , it’s terrible, what a complicated problem homelessness is.'” Parson said.

Parson has been a dedicated advocate for the homeless for years, and that has included bold actions that she says have been effective, even when the police have been called in the past. In 2020, she was a spokesperson for Tacoma Housing Now, which organized a group of homeless people in 16 rooms at a motel in Fife, Washington.

The group paid for one night for the rooms, then demanded that the city and state government pay because people refused to leave. They eventually left when the cops arrived, although Parson noted no one was arrested.

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Discussing this, Parson explained that local governments have the ability to request money from FEMA to reimburse hotels to allow homeless people to stay there. After this incident, she said, the local government started asking for these funds.

“That’s what showed me with these actions, that local governments need a boost,” Parson said.

Now she says that “push” should take the form of more traditional methods of protest, rather than occupying homes.

Parson argued that Congress would do better to serve the country by spending money on homelessness instead of foreign aid like the recent $40 billion package to Ukraine.

“The government has over $40 billion that it can apparently create to order and send to Ukraine, to the Nazis in Ukraine,” she said. “But he can’t afford [help] people here.”

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The ultimate goal of the video, Parson said, was to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.

“With this commercial I just wanted to bring it back and show people that we have this huge problem that everyone is noticing across the country, homelessness is on the rise,” she said. “It’s a huge problem that affects more people than you think, but there is a solution which is all those empty houses.”

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