DC: Homeowners, Renters, and Homeless Unite Against Fannie/Freddie In Day of Action
Yesterday homeowners and housing justice activists from around the country to target Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHFA chief Ed DeMarco around a set of demands that would keep people in their homes and return power to local communities. Groups from around the country, including numerous local Occupy Our Homes groups, convened in Washington, DC to take back the peoples’ bank.
The American Friends Service Committee/Atlanta blog has a great write-up on the day and the role Occupy Our Homes Atlanta activists played as part of it.
After pulling off actions at every regional Fannie/Freddie office in early September, several cities decided to send delegations to Washington DC to confront Freddie and Fannie at their national offices.
With little time to organize, we were able to pull eleven folks from Atlanta to make the trip.
Micheline Meusa, Renika Wheeler and their two children were among our Atlanta delegation. Both have lost jobs in the last six months and as a result of having a very limited safety net they ended up on the street. Renika and Micheline have bounced from shelter to shelter and have been unable to obtain work, despite looking for work almost every day.
Renika and Micheline represent a segment of the population that has, up to this point, often been left out of the housing crisis conversation.
One thing that was exciting about today’s action was having the story’s of homeowners, renters, and homeless elevated to the some importance.
The sad fact is that Atlanta has six empty homes for every homeless person, and Atlanta is full of homeless people now more then ever.
After demonstrating outside Fannie Mae this morning, five people impacted by Fannie’s practices decided to commit an act of civil disobedience that landed them in jail, Renika was one of them. She’s out now!
After leaving Fannie we made a quick trip to Freddie Macs headquarters, then we decided to do something special.
All of us went to Edward Demarco’s to not only give him a piece of our mind and deliver a pink slip, we also had a pizza party on his lawn.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has posted footage from an action earlier in September at a regional office of Fannie Mae in Atlanta.
These actions are adding to a campaign that Right to the City and a number of allies have been running targeting Fannie and Freddie for a while. Here are their demands:
- Principal reduction to real value for all underwater homeowners.
- End all Fannie-Freddie evictions. Accept rent. And respect renters’ rights.
- Sell foreclosed property to occupants or non-profits at real value. Not to Investors and Hedge Funds!
- Turn vacant REO property over to community controlled entities/institutions (don’t bulk sell at steep discounts to Hedge Funds, Big Banks & Investors) in order to convert properties to long term affordable housing accessible to renters, homeless families/individuals, and former homeowners.