Atlanta resident Latonia Wilson negotiated a deal last week to stay in her home. Latonia, who lives in the home with eight of her nine children, fell behind on her mortgage after losing her job earlier this year. Her attempts to reach out to her lender, a small investor with a shady past, were unsuccesful until she joined forces with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta last month.
Latonia and her family had lived in their Southwest Atlanta home for over 5 years when her landlord sold the home to another investor. The new investor, Performance View LLC approached Latonia and offered her an opportunity to purchase her home. Alhtough Latonia had never imagined herself as a homeowner, she jumped at the opportunity to provide long-term stability for her family. When hard times hit and Latonia found herself unable to keep up with the mortgage, she attempted to contact Dan West, the owner of Performance View LLC, to no avail. The phone number listed for the company was disconnected, and their registered address only led to a Publix grocery store.
When Latonia received a foreclosure notice in July, she reached out to Occupy Our Homes Atlanta who mobilized at the monthly foreclosure auction and successfully prevented a third party from purchasing Latonia’s home. After weeks of investigation, they were finally able to track down Dan West, and presented him with an offer from Latonia which would allow her to remain in her home with her family at a price she could afford.
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.
Early Friday morning, Desert Storm veteran Mark Harris was greeted at gunpoint by Dekalb County Marshals, there to evict him from his home of 18 years. ELS, a contracted eviction company, worked quickly to move all of the veteran’s belongings to the lawn as Harris and community members watched in dismay. As more people arrived at the scene, they were able to pressure the police into backing down on Friday and assumed control of the property.
After helping Mark secure his belongings, community supporters and Occupy Our Homes Atlanta launched a 24-hour peaceful occupation of Mark’s property, calling out Fannie Mae for putting another veteran on the street and refusing to work out an agreeable loan modification. For 10 months Mark has been in negotiations with Fannie Mae to modify his mortgage, even traveling to Washington DC to meet with executives from the company. However, Fannie Mae made it clear last weekend that they were not willing to negotiate a deal to keep Mark in his home, despite his willingness and ability to pay if a modification were worked out. Instead, Fannie Mae has hired private security to monitor Mark’s home 24/7.
75 community members with Occupy Homes MN turned back 30 sheriffs in their attempt to evict the Ceballos home in Minneapolis today. Two home defenders were arrested in acts of civil disobedience.
Under orders from sheriff Richard Stanek, deputies kicked in the door without warning at 12:40pm this afternoon. One home defender was cut out of a barrel filled with concrete by deputies wielding a jackhammer and saw.
Last week, people in thirteen cities across the country took part in a day of action against Chase Bank in solidarity with Minneapolis homeowner Sergio Ceballos, who was illegally dual tracked by Chase and served with an eviction notice on Monday. From Chase Headquarters in New York, to smaller operations in Seattle and San Francisco, people nationwide delivered Sergio’s petition to their local Chase branches on Sergio’s behalf. While the sheriffs can come at any moment to evict Sergio and his family, people all across the country are standing up for Sergio and telling Chase that the fight for the Ceballos home has only just begun.
After more than a year of seeking to resolve a dispute with her mortgage modification, former Chicago police officer Pat Hill is now facing imminent eviction for the second time. The Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, which has been fighting alongside Pat, has put a call out to supporters, asking them to call Ocwen CEO, Ronald Farris, and demand a halt to eviction proceedings immeditately.
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21-year Chicago Police Department veteran. Educator. Longtime community activist. Educator. Elder Foreclosure fraud victim. Patricia Hill is all those things, but most importantly, she’s a fighter. And right now she’s fighting for her home.
Sister Pat spent 21 years on the Chicago police force, during which she spent many years fighting discrimination and corruption. In 2009, Bank of New York Mellon purchased her mortgage and had its servicer increase her mortgage payments by $600 for insurance. When she disputed the increase, they deemed her delinquent and foreclosed on her.
Over 100 community members rallied in south Minneapolis last week in support of the wrongfully foreclosed Ceballos family, who now face imminent eviction at the hands of Chase Bank. Occupy Homes MN has pledged a full-scale eviction defense, a tactic that drew widespread attention and 39 arrests during the Cruz house evictions last year, if JPMorgan Chase fails to negotiate. They have also called for a national day of action against Chase Bank on July 10.
“For me it’s important to stay in my home because my kids grew up here,” said Sergio Ceballos, the homeowner. “I’m just asking for a modification, not to stay in my house for free.”
Parkwood Farms, a therapeutic riding center for children with disabilities in Snellville, GA, has claimed a major victory today in their fight against the bank to save the farm from foreclosure.
More from Occupy Our Homes Atlanta:
Parkwood Farms Therapy Center reached out to Occupy Our Homes Atlanta last November on the same day that Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputies were attempting to enforce an eviction.
When the economic crisis hit in 2008, some of the children who receive the very unique therapy that Parkwood Farms provides could no longer afford the fees Parkwood Farms asks for. Parkwood Farms made the decision to put people over profit and work with those that needed their services. Around the same time their monthly monthly payments shot up dramatically. Doctor Marilyn Peterson immediately began working with the bank on a loan modification. Dr. Peterson faced the same struggle that millions of Americans faced, having to resend modification packets, broken promises from the lender, and eventually a refusal to work with her.
After holding multiple heartfelt press conferences attended by parents, children, volunteers, and all of Snellville’s City Council the bank decided to negotiate.
How to use direct action to fight foreclosure
Saturday May 18, 2013
12:30pm – 6:00pm
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Occupy Our Homes began with the simple idea of bringing the bold energy of the Occupy movement into communities facing housing crisis to build power through victories for the 99%. Over the last year and a half, homeowners and activists around the country have fought back against the banks, stopping evictions and winning homes, churches, and community landmarks, while relieving debt and reclaiming land.
Five years after an economic meltdown precipitated by Wall Street greed, fraud, and recklessness in the housing market, Americans continue to face an epidemic of unjust foreclosures. While homeowners and renters seek help to keep their homes, banks have rushed to foreclose and evict, and in too many communities, homes remain vacant while neighbors sleep on the street.
After years of false promises to hold banks accountable, and a lack of any real relief for homeowners, people are fed up and ready to take action to fight back. On May 20th, dozens of homeowners who are underwater, facing foreclosure, or had their homes foreclosed on illegally by the banks are joining with hundreds of allies from around the country in Washington D.C. to risk arrest and demand an end to the Department of Justice’s “too big to fail, too big to jail” policy.