Five miles south of Boston’s city center, in the neighborhood of Dorchester, an empty white house sits at the junction of Norwell and Athelwold streets. Rising from the peak of its roof is a red brick chimney and, next to it, a long, silver spear. It’s an uncommon roof ornament for a neighborhood of mostly working-class families—not as busy with prongs as the iconic rake antennae, and curiously taller than the chimney it parallels. But when members of Boston activist organization City Life/Vida Urbana occupied this house on the morning of June 7, the roof antenna was one of the first, and most pivotal, announcements of their arrival.
The activists rallied at a Dorchester house thatahomeless family was evicted from. A coalition of community groups protested outside a foreclosed Dorchester home Tuesday and called for more affordable housing in Boston. The group, made up of seven nonprofit organizations, took to Norwell Street for the second time this week. Over the weekend, the group attempted to move a homeless family into the vacant house, only to be driven out by law enforcement officials, said Darnell Johnson, a coalition spokesman.
Activists rallied on Saturday in Dorchester at a home that they took over to make a statement: Housing is a human right.
“The hardest part of battling eviction is the not knowing, Lavette Sealls said. “You’re always living on edge because you know eventually you might have to move,” she said. “You go on fighting as hard as you can.” The 58-year-old Hyde Park resident told her story to a crowd of more than 60 at a rally for affordable housing in Dorchester on Saturday. The day’s main event was the occupation of a vacant home owned by Fannie Mae, a symbolic step toward reclaiming a neighborhood plagued by rising housing costs that have led to foreclosures and evictions.