Advocates make a temporary ‘home’ to make a point

On the morning of Thurs., July 23, the group Picture the Homeless occupied an empty lot on 115th St. between Madison and Fifth Aves. Using pieces cut from a large blue tarp, they created a “tent city” of 18 tents and a small stage, where several sat under a sign reading, “A Place To Call Home.” A statement from the group demanded that “warehoused lots and buildings be accounted for by the city, and transformed into housing for poor and homeless people.” By mid-afternoon, police had filled the street outside the lot; they told the protesters they had to leave or face arrest. After dozens of the protesters had left, in a late-afternoon downpour, police led the 10 who had remained — including Father Frank Morales, a former East Village squatter activist, above — in handcuffs to a waiting patrol wagon. All were released by 1 a.m. the next morning with desk-appearance tickets.