Squatters Turn $19M London Home Into Homeless Shelter

The nearly 200-year-old home was bought by a Russian oligarch in 2014
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2017 5:45 PM CST
Squatters Turn Oligarch's Fancy Home Into Homeless Shelter
A group of squatters has moved into a fancy London home owned by a Russian oligarch and turned it into a homeless shelter.   (Facebook)

A group of squatters has seized an empty property on one of Britain's "most expensive and exclusive streets" and turned it into a homeless shelter, the Telegraph reports. According to the Guardian, the five-story, $19 million home was purchased by a Russian oligarch in 2014 but is believed to have sat unused since. The Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians, or ANAL, got into the home through an open window on Monday. They say they're currently housing 25 or so people who had been sleeping on the street. The nearly 200-year-old house features a spiral staircase, polished floors, and multiple "hand-carved" fireplaces. The squatters have added a projector for movie nights, portable cookers, and a shop with free clothes.

A recent count found approximately 4,000 people sleeping on the streets of London. Another count found more than 200,000 homes that have been empty for more than half a year. ANAL calls that an "injustice." The group says it researched the home before moving in, discovering it was purchased by Russian oligarch Andrey Goncharenko, who has bought four fancy houses in London over the past three years. One squatter tells the Telegraph they "figured the damage caused to him compared to the gains for the homeless community is nothing." The squatter says the house could mean the difference between life and death for homeless people during freezing winter weather. The Mirror has photos from inside the home prior to its new life as a homeless shelter. (More squatters stories.)

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