Occupy Chattanooga rallies to support homeowner facing foreclosure

Members of Occupy Chattanooga held a “Foreclosure Free Cookout” yesterday at the home of Filson Manley, a local homeowner who is now facing foreclosure. Supporters had been reaching out to neighbors for weeks, preparing for the cookout, which despite rain was a huge success! 

Fil’s home fell into foreclosure earlier this year. After suffering a loss of income after the 2008 economic crash, Fil applied for a loan modification through the HAMP program with his then servicer IndyMac. He was making his trial payments when his servicer was changed from IndyMac to One West. It’s all went downhill from there, with Fil going back and forth with One West attempting to restart the modification process. 

 

Judge stops eviction of homeowner with disabilities

From Moratorium Now:

 

Detroit — S. Baxter Jones appeared before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Walter Shapero on April 4 in a desperate attempt to stop his eviction from his home. Shapero, in a move that stunned many attorneys, gave Jones a 30-day adjournment, thus keeping the homeowner with disabilities from becoming another victim of Wells Fargo Bank and the federal government’s Fannie Mae agency.

The courtroom was filled with supporters, who sat in hushed silence straining to hear Jones’ remarks. Activists in wheelchairs and with service dogs representing Warriors on Wheels; members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs; It Takes A Village Y’all; and the Detroit Eviction Defense had rallied to an appeal to “pack the court” that had gone out over social media.

Jones had been severely injured in an accident in 2005. He was well known in Detroit as a school teacher who coached students in track and field. After his injuries, Jones fell behind on the mortgage for his Jackson, Mich., home while waiting for Social Security payments to begin. His appeal for a forbearance from his bank was callously ignored and foreclosure followed.

Jones addressed the judge with clear but labored speech. He explained the circumstances that had brought him to this point and appealed for the chance to keep his home. A written statement that Jones had prepared, appealing for justice that doesn’t benefit greed but rather those in need, was read to the court by a supporter.

Judge Shapero overruled the objections of the attorney for Fannie Mae, who listed all the “proper” legal steps taken by her client to put Jones out of his home. The judge agreed that the law was clear, but stated that “the law isn’t everything.” He ordered the 30-day adjournment until the court could appoint an attorney to assist Jones on a pro bono basis.

 

Desert Storm Veteran Faces Eviction, Refuses to Leave. Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, Teamsters Local 728, and Atlanta Jobs with Justice Stand with Him

Mark Harris created a campaign to fight for his home on Start2.OccupyOurHomes.org and is now working with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta to stay in his home. Occupy Our Homes Atlanta put out this statement in advance of a press conference tomorrow as they work to help him stop his eviction.

Desert Storm veteran and retired UPS worker Mark Harris purchased his home in 1996 with a VA backed home loan and refinanced it in 2004.

In 2005 he started a trucking business, and then the economy crashed. His illnesses related to his service in Desert Storm became an issue, and he fell behind on his mortgage.

He’s been trying to catch up ever since; recently he applied for the HomeSafe program here in Georgia. While his application was being processed his VA benefits kicked in, which meant he could afford to make my payments. Greentree(loan servicer) and Fannie Mae(Loan owner) decided to foreclose despite Mark’s willingness and ability to pay.

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta looked over the assignment documents and discovered that some of the country’s most famous robo signers signed the mortgage assignment that was used to foreclose on Mark.

Fannie Mae is aggressively moving forward with an eviction, and it could happen as soon as November 15th. Mark Harris states, “As a veteran, I thought the toughest battles were behind me. “I never thought I’d be struggling to keep a roof over my head. I fought for this country, so I know I have a right to fight for my home!”

Read more about Mark’s fight and how OOH Atlanta, Atlanta Jobs With Justice & Teamsters Local 728 are helping him.

Occupy Denver: Harrowing account of the eviction of Sahara Donahue

Occupy Denver has posted a detailed and terrifying account of the eviction this week by Idaho Springs resident Sahara Donahue. Here’s some of Sahara’s story in her fight to keep her home from US Bank:

Sahara Donahue has lived in her home for over 20 years, has been a volunteer in her community, and was a decent law abiding citizen. She suffered injuries from a near-fatal accident, including a head injury that was not properly diagnosed until over a year after the accident. She could no longer perform the duties of her job, and therefore was forced to rely on the generosity of friends to help pay her mortgage for several years. She made every attempt to communicate and work with the banks, and even retained the services of an attorney, in the hopes of finding some resolution to keep her home. However, the banks (as well as a corrupt realtor) apparently had different plans.

When it became clear that US Bank was trying to imminently take Sahara’s home, she went to Occupy Denver, who immediately began assisting her in keeping her home. After a successful eviction defense on Monday, things took a turn for the worse on Tuesday.

Yesterday a highly militarized police force arrived at the home of 63 year old Sahara Donahue to evict her from her residence of 24 years. She was petitioning US Bank for an additional 60 days to remain in her home, so she could have some time to find a new place to live, secure her belongings and leave her home with dignity. She came to the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition and Occupy Denver General Assembly to ask for our help. She knew no one in Occupy Denver prior to reaching out. We immediately started mobilizing to try to get her the assistance she needed and a group went up to her house for the first rumored eviction on Thursday 10/25. When that eviction didn’t happen, we planned an in-town action at US Bank on Monday for Sahara to try to find someone to speak with about her situation, with carpools up to her house later that day as the eviction was said to be scheduled for Tuesday 10/30. Occupiers laid barricades from fallen trees to prevent moving trucks and workers from entering the property and were able to stave off the eviction for a few hours. At 2:45pm ten or more truckloads of police in full combat gear armed with live-ammo AR-15’s, and grenade launchers arrived on the scene & forced occupiers to the ground at gun point. Police then made their way to the house, broke down the front door, threw Sahara to the ground in her own kitchen and pointed their guns at the heads of a mother and son who were in the house with Sahara along with others. They continued to break items in the house as they searched it.

Occupy Denver has a long, detailed account of their work to help Sahara and what happened this week. You can read it here

Community members denounce Wells Fargo & US Bank for their heartless treatment of cancer patients

Today actions in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco will target Wells Fargo and US Bank, asking them to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by halting foreclosures and evictions of cancer patients and others batting serious illness and instead negotiate fair and affordable mortgages that will allow families to stay in their homes.

The organizers are highlighting the cases of Jacqueline Barber of Georgia and Ana Casas Wilson in Los Angeles who are each battling cancer and working with housing activists to resist imminent evictions after facing foreclosure despite repeated pleas to the banks to renegotiate their home loans. Occupy Homes Atlanta activists have set up an encampment at the home of Jacqueline Barber, a retired police officer; the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) working to stop the eviction of Casas, a longtime advocate for the disabled.

More details on the campaigns, as well as the four events today, are below the fold.

Take Back the Land Rochester & Metro Justice Housing Justice Summit

From Take Back the Land Rochester’s Facebook event:

After our incredibly successful Housing is a Human Right March, we need to make sure that we keep up the energy and help to build what work we’re doing to make Housing a Human Right.

The Housing Justice Summit is a space for leadership development and greater understanding for participants in this movement. We need more people participating on a day-to-day basis.

Join us, and learn about what the foreclosure crisis is, what is has meant for Rochester in the last few years, how we plan to combat it in a way that reduces homelessness and strengthen community!

 

Atlanta: JoSelf Freeman’s eviction was stopped today, but his fight goes on

This morning, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta was able to stave of the eviction of JoSelf Freeman, who was facing eviction at the hands of Bank of America and Fannie Mae. JoSelf has a petition going on Start2.OccupyOurHomes.org and has been working with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta to keep his home. Here’s the update on this mornings victory from OOH ATL:

With ya’lls help we were able to put off JoSelf’s eviction this morning! If it weren’t for all the calls, emails, and folks in JoSelf yard there’s no doubt that his belongings would be in the yard.

JoSelf has been granted an additional 17 days before another eviction date. That means we have 17 days to building JoSelf campaign and convince Fannie Mae and Bank of America to do the right thing.

For those that haven’t seen it, here is JoSelf’s story:

More below the fold

CA: Join in Ana Casas Wilson’s Last Stand For Her Home

Ana Casas Wilson of South Gate, California has been fighting Wells Fargo and US Bank for her home. Peggy Mears of the community group ACCE reports that, “She has been struggling for months to get Wells Fargo and US Bank to accept her money and stop foreclosing on her home of forty years. She is now faced with being forcibly evicted from her home by sheriff’s deputies tomorrow (Wednesday).”

ACCE is organizing to help Ana and has asked supporters around the country to make calls to Wells and US Bank today to stop the eviction.

Can you call US Bank CEO Richard K. Davis at 877-753-0557 and Well Fargo CEO John Stumpf at 888-253-8295 and tell them to negotiate with Ana Casas Wilson of South Gate?

Read more about Ana and get a call script below the fold.

MN: Major Cruz Campaign Development

Home occupier Alejandra Cruz with Occupy Homes MN has a big update from her family’s fight for their home. In an email she writes:

Friends and Supporters,

As my family stood up against the banks’ unjust foreclosure, we were joined by hundreds of thousands of people around the country. With support from Occupy Homes MN, we traveled to Freddie Mac’s offices in Chicago and to their national headquarters in Washington, D.C. to demand they work with our family and others like us who are at risk of losing their homes.

Though we were evicted after 5 raids on the house, during which 37 of our friends were arrested while peacefully defending our home, our story gained national media attention. Our story is inspiring many other families to fight back.

And it isn’t over. I just learned that our family’s home has been placed on the market for sale and now we have a chance at winning back our home once and for all.

Thanks to all of your support, PNC Bank has come to the table and agreed to work with our family to buy back our home at a reduced price reflecting real market value that our family can afford.

Unfortunately, Freddie Mac, who now owns the property, is refusing to sell it to us.

Will you stand with us to demand Freddie Mac let us buy our home back and sign our petition?

Go below the fold for more of Alejandra’s email.

Foreclosure Fraud Whistleblower Lynn Szymoniak Exposes Fraud in Fayetteville

Tim Franzen of Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has an update on a big development in Jacqueline Barber’s fight to keep her home. Famed robosigning and foreclosure fraud whistleblower Lynn Szymoniak has exposed evidence of fraud in Jacqueline’s mortgage assignments. Tim has a report back of Lynn’s event in support of Jacqueline:

Today Fayette County Woman Jacqueline Barber, who’s refused to leave her home despite battling cancer and being under threat of eviction fro US Bank and GMAC, got a visit from someone else who has experience fighting the big banks.

West Palm, FL resident Lynn Szymoniak is the reason “robo signing” is a nasty practice almost everybody has heard of. While Lynn was facing foreclosure she discovered serious problems with the assignments. Documents filled out wrong, missing or terribly incorrect information, and counterfeit signatures, all ways the big banks cut corners so they could foreclose and evict people faster. Lynn took them to task, and won!

Having exposed several serious problems with the assignments, and feeling a connection with Jacqueline, Lynn volunteered to fly to Atlanta to do a press junket at Jacqueline’s home and spend the day with Jacqueline’s supporters.

The settlement she helped the US government win cost the big banks over 25 billion dollars, which she admits should have been closure to two trillion. Lynn volunteered to take a look at Jacqueline’s paperwork and guess what she founds, “I look at the assignments and said, ‘Oh no, this isn’t right.’ Four different dates the trust acquired Jacqueline’s mortgage in 2007 and 2011. I know this is not correct,” Szymoniak said.

Go below the fold for more information about Lynn’s work in support of Jacqueline Barber.