In October 2019, Interference Archive and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) open the exhibition Building for Us: Stories of Homesteading and Cooperative Housing. Building for Us begins in the 1970s, exploring the history of government disinvestment, widespread landlord neglect, abandonment in New York City and how this gave rise to squatting, urban homesteading, and other forms of self-help housing. The ultimate goal for tenant associations in this housing movement is to take their buildings out of the speculative housing market and own them collectively and democratically.
This exhibition, and the accompanying 64-page two-color catalog, chronicles the history of the movement and tells the stories of people who fought to turn vacant or neglected buildings into vibrant co-ops, as told through photographs, newsletters, training manuals and other materials found in UHAB’s archive. More than just an exhibition catalog, this publication acts as a resource to illustrate the history and how-to of cooperative housing. With fully bilingual (English-Spanish) text and a glossary, this publication features sections on sweat equity and homesteading, UHAB, training and education, TIL (the tenant interim lease program), and community building in the homestead movement. Includes approximately 30 reproductions of archival materials, including invitations to The Homesteader’s Ball, pages from the Homesteader’s Handbook / Manual del Inquilino, and pages from Cooking & Building: Lots of Tasty Recipes from the TIL/HDFC Community.