One of the more refreshing developments of the past couple years has been the Occupy Our Homes movement, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. For the past year, activists have directly challenged the banks and defended homeowners facing foreclosure, consistently chalking up victories in the form of sustainable modifications. Thursday’s Occupy Our Homes’ anniversary, and they are doing a national day of action, with actions planned in at least 16 cities across the country. They’re calling it the national day of action to Reclaim Our Homes and Reclaim Our Future.

The typical Occupy Our Homes action looks like this: locals find out about some homeowner in distress. They occupy the home, defending the homeowner from eviction and demanding that the lender work with the borrower. This works in a variety of creative ways, but the result is often the same: after a period of resistance, the bank figures out that it makes more sense both on a bottom-line basis and as a member of the community to just work on a sustainable modification that lets the borrower stay in the home. I don’t have a precise number, but this has happened dozens of times.

These are tangible victories that you can actually see making a difference in people’s lives. Occupy Our Homes also occasionally takes over vacant properties for the homeless, matching the massive needs in our society with the real resources available. The philosophy is about a right to housing, and a right to not have that housing stolen from people by predators using criminal means.

I could not be more proud of the efforts of Matt Browner Hamlin and the Occupy Our Homes activists. Nobody has had more success in making sure at least some losses in this crisis get allocated to the banks. The first step is to actually fight. Then you can win.

You can follow the updates on the national day of action here.

Photo by 13lucie under Creative Commons license.