D6 Day of Action Live Updates

Go below the fold for photos and videos from these updates. 

4:22am Update:

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has posted a video and update of their action today:

On December 6th members of Occupy Our Homes ATL took from a bank something they’ve been stealing from people for decades: a home. In Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood, which stands at least 50% vacant, a displaced family moved themselves into a bank-owned home. The desired outcome is that M&T Bank give the home to Higher Ground Empowerment Center’s non-profit, and that the home then be taken off the market and be put into community control. (Higher Ground Empowerment Center is a church that activists saved from foreclosure and displacement in January of 2012)

 

2:08am Update:

Here’s a more detailed update from California about the successful eviction defense this morning of the Ponce family home by Occupy Sacramento, Occupy Woodland, Occupy Stockton, and Occupy Davis:

Occupy Sacramento, Occupy Woodland, Occupy Stockton, Occupy Davis passed the first hurdle (day 1) of defending the Ponce family from their D6 scheduled eviction.  The sheriff did not show up!  We’re not out of the woods yet, they still have 2 days to attempt to lock out the Ponces.

The Ponces qualified for a HAMP modification in 2011; they made all their payments during the temp mod, and were approved for a permanent mod.  Wells Fargo made a mistake during approval of the permanent mod paperwork–and instead of fixing the mistake, they insisted that the Ponces reapply! They were assured that they were in no danger of losing their home. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo was at the same time foreclosing on them (classic dual tracking).  Ultimately, their house was sold to an investment firm before the second HAMP could be finalized.

We believe that Wells Fargo should honor its agreement to modify their loan–especially since recent changes to Keep Your Home California have made it easier for the Ponces to get a prinicipal reduction and affordable payments.

 

 

12:24am Update:

On a day where the Michigan state legislature waged a major assault on the 99% and workers’ rights, we have some good news from Detroit, where a coalition of housing groups including Moratorium NOW! and Detroit Eviction Defense won a victory for the Cullors family.

After blocking the eviction, filling the dumpster with leaf bags, marching on the bank, and packing the courtroom, we have persuaded Fannie Mae to withdraw its eviction order against the Cullors family and sell the mortgage back to Bank of America. BOA will modify the mortgage to keep the Cullors in their home. We can’t know at this point what the modification will amount to, and we’ll pressure the bank to reduce principal. But even with these pending issues, it’s great news.

 

 

11:54pm Update:

Occupy Homes MN took a home in South Minneapolis! They have a long post up explaining the day’s actions, but here’s an excerpt of how the community gave the home to retired veteran John Vinje, who was made homeless by foreclosure:

200 community members successfully took over a vacant home in south Minneapolis Thursday night for a veteran made homeless by foreclosure, demanding that the house be turned over to community control through a nonprofit, as the Occupy Homes movement marked its first birthday. Internationally renowned hip-hop artists Brother Ali and Chuck D of Public Enemy led the anniversary celebration. 

Homelessness in Hennepin County is at a six-year-high, a near-crisis situation, and one in four people experiencing homelessness is a veteran. Nationwide, there are 3.5 million homeless people–and nearly 19 million vacant homes. “Why not put homeless people, or people who have gone through foreclosure like us, into these vacant homes?” asked John Vinje. “At least they’ve got somewhere safe and warm to live.”

Before he performed inside Bobby’s house, Brother Ali, who made headlines in June for his arrest defending the Cruz house, spoke movingly about the time he and his son spent homeless. “Anyone who’s lived in a house that the police have smashed through, where someone comes into your house with a gun, you know that traumatizes you for life. I still have to sleep away from the door when I stay in a hotel.”

The community then marched to a nearby home made vacant by the foreclosure crisis, where John Vinje told the story of how US Bank and Freddie Mac foreclosed on and then evicted him rather than modify his loan–in spite of theirprograms to help veterans. “Because of US Bank and Freddie Mac, my family is now split up in three different parts of the metro area,” he said. “It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t your fault. It was their fault. This is not the country that I fought for.”

50 people were still in the house as of 9 pm. “Whose house?” they chanted. “Our house!”

11:46pm Update:

From Philadelphia, where the community groups PhARE and PUP took on Wells Fargo and got a meeting for a homeowner in crisis:

At noon PhARE was joined with PUP and a local homeowner to demand answers for Wells Fargo’s destructive banking and mortgage servicing policies.  

Meet John: a small construction business owner, father and homeowner struggling with a Wells Fargo mortgage over the last three years.  Today John got a chance to meet face to face with a Wells Fargo rep and demand real answers.

The power of numbers got John an appointment and contact information for a mortgage servicing agent at Wells Fargo.  But that’s not enough.  As the governator said best, we’ll be back.  If 5 people can get a meeting, imagine what 20 will yield.

 

6:24pm Update:

Possibly my favorite sign of the day, seen in Los Angeles at a protest with Occupy Fights Foreclosures and ACCE: “The time has come. The banks will fall. Stay tuned.”

6:16pm Update:

Here’s a live stream recorded of the action at the Castle Stawaiski Law firm in Denver by Occupy Denver and the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition. 

6:10pm Update:

Housing activists and MORE members in St. Louis protested at Wells Fargo. Here’s an update from the action:

“We got into a Wells Fargo lobby in St. Louis… the exact location is actually Missouri’s financial capital. We executed a “people’s foreclosure” and then started auctioning off their stuff to the highest bidder.”

5:27pm Update:

Over 60 activists turned out in San Francisco to protest at Wells Fargo, occupying a branch in the Bayview district with ACCE and the Home Defenders League.

5:18pm Update:

In Chicago, activists are inside with Pat Hill with a big banner for her court date to keep her home.

3:58pm Update:

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has moved a homeless family into a vacant, bank-owned home. There’s one less homeless family on the streets and one less vacant home. The community is helping plant a new garden in front of the house.

2:53pm Update:

Here’s a recorded live stream from Occupy Sacramento’s action this morning at the Ponce residence, in Woodland, CA. Here’s some background info: 

 

Calling Wells Fargo Bank a “Grinch” trying to steal Christmas from the Ponce family (couple and 4 children),  Occupy anti-foreclosure activists from Sacramento, Davis, Woodland, Stockton and Marin began the defense of the home of Alma and Heriberto Ponce, THURSDAY, 6 a.m. at 1543 Paradise Valley Drive in Woodland. Yolo County Deputies are expected to enforce the eviction.

Last May, Occupy foreclosure action teams successfully defended the Ponce Family home after the bank foreclosed, even though the had been approved for a loan modification. Wells Fargo backed off from the eviction because of the publicity.

Wells Fargo made a mistake on the final modification paperwork for the Ponces and before it could be corrected, the house was sold in foreclosure, even though the bank assured the family everything was all right because they had successfully completed the trial modification period and received the final HAMP modification. This is an example of “dual tracking”, which will be illegal in California on January 1, 2013, when the Homeowner Bill of Rights takes effect.

Occupy Sacramento members have contacted Wells Fargo numerous times, suggesting a win/win/win solution which would benefit the bank and the investor who bought the house, as well as keeping the Ponces in their home. Wells Fargo refused; consequently the Ponces face eviction.

 

2:27pm Update

The Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign has set up a tent city in downtown Chicago. Visuals here, here and here

1:35pm Update

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta flash action today at Bank of America in support of Joself Freeman’s fight for his home. Sign and share Joself’s petition here

11:32am Update

One year after the Pittman family started occupying their home with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, they can claim victory in their home!

Original post

Happy birthday, Occupy Our Homes! Today communities around the country are turning the spotlight on the crisis that continues to hold our neighborhoods and our economy hostage as part of the Occupy Our Homes movement’s national day of action to Reclaim Our Homes and Reclaim Our Future.

Actions are taking place in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Richmond CA, Lake Worth FL, Greensboro NC, Mendham NJ, and other cities.

We will update this post throughout the day with details from actions taking place around the country.

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta to Host Town Hall Meeting at Historic Wheat Street Baptist Church to Address Historic Housing Crisis and Misuse of “Hardest Hit Funds”

Georgia continues to be battered by the foreclosure crisis. It is consistently rated as one of the most affected states. Despite this fact, there seems to be little to no relief for the people who are struggling the most. From Governor Nathan Deal’s remarks that responsible homeowners don’t need assistance, to Edward DeMarco’s recent statement against principle reduction to prevent intentional default, it is clear that our politicians are out of touch and unwilling to do what it takes to help solve the problem.

In 2010, the federal government designated billions of dollars to be used in “Hardest Hit Funds” to help homeowners in states like Georgia. To date, that money is not being used to help those who need it most. It’s time we stop waiting for this help to come around, and start coming together to demand it. At the Town Hall event on Saturday, we’ll figure out ways to do just that.

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has been successfully defending families and Churches from eviction and foreclosure, but we realize that we need a movement on a scale that brings relief to not just a few people, but to everyone.

At the Town Hall home owners in distress and community leaders hope to launch a campaign against what have emerged as the two greatest obstacles to mass principle reduction and more community control over the neighborhoods we live in, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

More details below the fold.

Rochester: Rally and Protest to Call the City to Divest from Chase

The people of New York State are fed up.

After a complete financial melt down and massive bailout of taxpayer money, the major banks are still not playing fair with out lives. JP Morgan Chase, in particular, has made it a practice of foreclosing on homeowners without even the most standard processes that would give people a chance to stay in their home.  Only 6% of people with Chase mortgages looking for help were able to get permanent loan modifications, and 80% of people who asked for one did not receive an offer. With the understanding that this is the best way to work out an agreement between the homeowner and bank so that a person can stay in their home, it is easy to say that Chase is one of the worst banks to work with in New York State.

Beyond this they have a poor performance under the federal Home Affordable Modifications Program and even the modifications they do give homeowners have not provided the type of help they are intended for.

To add insult to injury, a large sum of the City of Rochester’s finances are held in JP Morgan Chase.  This is public money held in a bank that is refusing to help working families in our community, which contributes to this climate of mass foreclosure and displacement.  In an effort to finally tell Chase that we are not going to participate in their assault on our communities, we are asking the City of Rochester to divest from Chase Banks because of their unfair mortgage practices.

Join us in front of the city’s central Chase Bank for a protest and press conference to deliver the message that we are always cleaning up after Chase, and now we want them out!

This event is co-sponsored by the Metro Justice Housing Committee, Take Back the Land Rochester, Band of Rebels, Rochester Red and Black, and others!

WHAT: Rally to Ask for the City of Rochester’s Divestment from JP Morgan Chase

WHEN: Monday, August 27th, 12pm

WHERE: Downtown Chase Bank, at 1 Chase Square

 

VICTORY! St. Paul Lawyer Saves Own Home from Foreclosure with Occupy Homes MN

Yet another victory for Occupy Homes MN, with Paul Lelii winning a principal reduction from Bank of America this week.

St. Paul, MN – Paul Lelii, a single father, attorney for his private law firm, and St. Paul homeowner, has been offered a principal reduction loan modification by Bank of America. 

The news came after a targeted campaign Occupy Homes MN led against Bank of America, urging them to renegotiate with Paul and four other homeowners. So far four of the five have won renegotiations, including Ruby Brown of north Minneapolis and Frank Clark and Kristina Darrington of Coon Rapids.

“Paul has shown courage, strength and passion for eliminating foreclosures throughout St. Paul,” said Lauren Siegel, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. “His victory shows that banks can and will stop foreclosure when they face enough pressure to do so.”

Read more below the fold.

‘Occupy Homes’ foreclosure fighters reaching millions with crowd-funded ad campaign in Florida & Nationally

This week, a 30-second TV ad featuring six real-life foreclosure fighters will air on national television. The spot advertises ‘Occupy Our Homes,’ an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has empowered thousands of people in housing crisis to fight back against fraudulent foreclosures, to demand fair treatment by mortgage lenders, and, in many cases, to keep their homes. The ad ends with a plug for the movement’s website, OccupyHomes.org, where people can find helpful resources and success stories of communities that have fought back against the banks.

The spot opens with Monique White, a north Minneapolis resident who was the first resident to approach an Occupy group for help in fighting foreclosure. Activists with Occupy Minneapolis occupied her front lawn with tents and banners, and kicked off a seven-month campaign that led to US Bank renegotiating her loan. Five out of the six people featured—including an Atlanta pastor who joined with Occupy to fight the foreclosure of his historic Vine City church—have won their campaigns and fended off foreclosure.

“We’re all in this together,” said Marine veteran and longtime Minneapolis resident Bobby Hull. “Even after we bailed out the banks, they’re stilling trying to take the homes of millions of Americans. I hope this ad will inspire people to fight back like I did, and join forces with the Occupy Homes movement.”

Read more below the fold.

MN: VICTORY! Formerly Homeless Suburban Couple Wins Loan Modification to Stay in Home

Occupy Homes MN has helped another family win their home:

After a three-year foreclosure fight, a campaign with Occupy Homes MN, and an investigation by the Minnesota Attorney General, Bank of America and Freddie Mac have offered an affordable loan modification for Frank Clark and Kristina Darrington. 

The official offer came one day after the end of Frank and Kristina’s redemption period, which put them at risk for imminent eviction at any time.

“Frank and Kristina have overcome great odds, including a history of homelessness. This victory allows them to sleep soundly in their home, and to continue to help others in their community,” said Ryan Stopera, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN.

Frank overcame a difficult childhood and nine years of homelessness to build a life for himself and his wife Kristina. He became a union laborer and worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week to build the new 35W bridge. After the economic crisis and recession, labor jobs declined dramatically across the state, and Frank’s hours were cut, making mortgage payments difficult. Despite their hardship, Frank and Kristina were denied a loan modification, and were forced into foreclosure. At a sheriff sale, Bank of America bought the home back from themselves for nearly $100,000 less than the original price; while they were unwilling to modify the mortgage for Frank and Kristina, they were more than happy to do so for themselves.

Frank and Kristina took the pledge to remain in their home until they were offered a good faith negotiation. They have built tremendous support from friends, family, neighbors, Laborers’ Union 563, CrossPoint Church, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, and the local media. “This problem is not only in the cities. It affects everyone,” said Frank.

Read more of Frank and Kristina’s story below the fold.

Atlanta: Edgewood residents to hold press conference about illegal eviction of elderly woman

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta:

Around 8:30 AM on Friday August 5th Sherrye Calhoun woke up to Dekalb County Sheriff’s Deputies knocking on her door. They demanded that she leave her home immediately. Over the course of the morning Sheriff Thomas Brown’s deputies supervised her eviction. They had no disposessory warrant or writ of possession filed with the court. She has lived in the home for 30 years.

Within hours, Ms. Calhoun’s possessions were moved back into her house with the help of Edgewood residents and supporters. She is currently still residing in that house, determined to resist eviction should it again be attempted. 

That evening, Edgewood residents formed a group, Eviction Free Edgewood (EFE), determined to resist eviction of Edgewood residents. On Sunday, EFE, with Ms. Calhoun, hosted a barbeque to build community resistance. About 100 people were in attendance throughout the day. 

Join us at 11:00AM on Monday August 6th at Sherrye’s home, 39 Aberdeen Street Atlanta, GA 30307 to hear Sherrye tell her story alongside neighbors and community members enraged by this eviction in their community. 

Emergency Call-In to Stop Joliet, IL Sheriff’s Sale!

The Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign is asking that people call on behalf of Loleta Barrow-Leggett to help stop Wells Fargo from putting her home up for auction.

For months, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, Warehouse Workers for Justice, Will County Community Concern and other groups have been trying to stop the sale of Loleta Barrow-Leggett’s home in Joliet, IL. After our first demonstration, Wells Fargo agreed to call off the sale of the home and look into a modification.

Unfortunately, the modification that they have offered INCREASED BY $200, the amount of money that the family had been struggling to pay for its unaffordable monthly mortgage payments. For months, Ms. Barrow-Leggett’s family and supporters have been seeking to get her into a more affordable HAMP modification, sending in all the requested documentation as well as proof that her family has secured homeowners insurance.

But instead of good faith negotiations, Ms. Barrow-Leggett has received 11th hour calls threatening to put her house on sale on August 1st if she does not agreed to Wells Fargo’s unaffordable trial modification. This is unacceptable.

 

Find out how you can help below the fold.

Minneapolis: Homeowner Demands — and Gets — Meeting with CEO of Bank Foreclosing on Her Home

North Minneapolis resident Monique White was one of the first homeowners in the nation to reach out to the Occupy movement to stand with her in fighting back against foreclosure. And she has proved to be a formidable force, inspiring Occupy Homes Minnesota and other homeowners — in the Twin Cities area and across the country — to keep fighting even when the odds seem stacked against them

And yesterday, her tenacity paid off again.

From Occupy Minneapolis:

Minneapolis – It’s not every day you force a CEO of one of the largest banks in the country to meet with a homeowner they are foreclosing on, but that’s just what happened today as Monique White went head to head with CEO Richard Davis at the annual US Bank shareholders meeting. After more than six months of collecting signatures, public actions, marches, and call-in campaigns, White finally got her meeting with Davis after confronting him in front of 2,000 shareholders.

Occupy Greensboro joins Occupy Raleigh to reclaim an evicted family’s foreclosed home

Updates from today’s action are below the fold.

Occupy Greensboro joins Occupy Raleigh to reclaim an evicted family’s foreclosed home

A family in Raleigh has been evicted and forced from their home through an illegal foreclosure. They have been ordered to remove all personal property from their home by Sunday April 8, 2012. The family has bravely chosen to fight eviction and foreclosure and is requesting community support. Evidence of robo-signing by the bank, which is a fraud, has been uncovered and the entire foreclosure process is under attorney review.

It is up to us to send a clear message that we will not allow this to happen.

On Monday, April 9th, community participants will enter the house and refuse to leave as an act of civil disobedience. Another 10 families in this predominantly African-American neighborhood are facing similarly illegal foreclosure and eviction.