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.