Homeowners Fighting Back
Homeowners, renters, and the homeless joined forces to fight the banks and reclaim our communities. All over the country, we declared that housing is a human right. We came together, occupying our homes to prevent eviction, disrupting foreclosure auctions, restoring vacant homes to community use, and protesting the banks that caused this mess in the first place. And we showed time and again that when people fought for their homes, they could win.
Here is a partial list of some of the victories of the Occupy Our Homes movement over the last year.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is working with a Cobb County homeowner named Steve Boudreaux to help him get Wells Fargo to allow him to stay in his home. American Friends Service Committee/Atlanta has an update on their blog:
After battling unemployment and struggling to make payments on his mortgage, Cobb County resident Steve Boudreaux did what any diligent homeowner would do–he applied for an emergency home loan modification to stay in his home at a rate he could afford. Everything was all set to move forward until the IRS delayed in getting tax transcripts to his bank, Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo, rather than wait for the transcripts to come in, pushed forward with a foreclosure sale, even though the modification application was incomplete due to no fault of Steve’s own. To add insult to injury, the transcripts were delivered the day after the foreclosure sale.
Today Steve was joined by Occupy Our Homes ATL and Cobb United for Change at the Wells Fargo branch that Steve originally applied and received his home lone with one simple message, “You have all the information you need! Make a deal to keep Steve in his home!”
Cobb United for Change and Occupy Our Homes are ready to stand up with Steve to keep him in his home. Will you?
You can help Steve and call Luis Fortin of the Wells Fargo “Home Preservation” Team and demand he work to keep Steve in his home.
To reach Mr. Fortin call 877-458-8418. Once connected dial 0 until you are asked for an extension. Luis is ext. 31560.
Make sure to tell him that “Wells Fargo needs to work with Steve Boudreaux at 1525 Rubes Landing in Marietta. Set aside the foreclosure and make a deal to keep Steve in his home!”
Arizona Mother and Homeowner Lilly Washington returned home from visiting her injured son in a US Military Hospital in Germany, to find that despite written confirmation from Bank of America that they would suspend their foreclosure proceedings until she returned, the bank illegally sold her home to Fannie Mae in a trustee’s sale. Fannie Mae then changed the locks, and sent all of her belongings, including her son’s Purple Heart medal from his service in Iraq, to the city dump.
Despite this crushing setback, Lilly refused to give up. She moved back in and won a stay of eviction that granted the right to legally stay in her home as a renter. Now Lilly is fighting to recover ownership of her home and demand justice from Bank of America and Fannie Mae. And she needs your help.
For 23 years, Deborah Harris had the back of everyone in our nation’s Capitol. As a paramedic, or first responder as they are also known, she went to work everyday prepared to save anyone’s life.
She was injured on the job, causing her to lose wages and fall behind on her mortgage.
While she earned the right for everyone to have her back, three banks have pushed Deborah into foreclosure.
Leonard Spears and Take Back the Land Rochester are calling on the community to protest Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac’s move displace Leonard from his home at 26 Ries St., Rochester, NY 14611. Despite 10-12 attempts at a mortgage modification, Wells Fargo refused to negotiate with Leonard and instead asked him to continually resubmit the same paperwork. In order to take his home as quickly as possible Wells Fargo never served Leonard the Summons and Complaint for the foreclosure action, denying him proper recourse to defend his home in court. Instead Wells Fargo fabricated the paperwork saying they served Leonard and claiming he was up to 6 feet tall with black, brown, and blond hair! Unfortunately for Wells Fargo, Leonard is about 5’6”, bald and has never had blond or brown hair. In a further stroke of fraud, lawyers for Wells Fargo reveal that their client didn’t own the mortgage or note when they foreclosed on Leonard Spears giving them zero legal standing to foreclose in the first place. To add insult to injury, when Wells Fargo foreclosed on Mr. Spears, they sold his house to Freddie Mac for $500. Now Freddie Mac is trying to evict Leonard and gave him 90 days to vacate on March 30, 2012. We demand that Freddie Mac withdraw the eviction and that Wells Fargo withdraw the foreclosure and work out a reasonable settlement with Leonard.
John Vinje and Lucinda Adams-Vinje bought their home in 2008 for 148,000. Their payment was roughly $1,300 per month on a 30 yr fixed term. It was the 1st home that either of them had ever purchased. John had been an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam war before working for many years as a security officer. Lucinda had a well established 10 year career as a TSA agent at the Minneapolis airport. Lucinda chose the home because she had grown up in the South Metro area and her work is nearby. She also happens to love the house. John says “I’m not sure why, she just loves it.”
If they do nothing they will lose their home in April of 2012. This Air Force veteran and his wife have worked their entire adult life and now stand to lose the only home that either has ever owned.
What US Bank doesn’t realize is that John and his wife are fighters. They, along with a growing number of Minnesota homeowners, have taken a pledge to stand with their community and fight for their home.
PLEASE CALL U.S. Bank Sr. Vice President Tom Joyce TODAY: 612-303-3167. Tell U.S. Bank to postpone John Vinje’s sheriff’s sale and come to the table with a reasonable modification offer that will allow he and his family can stay in their home.
April 03, 2012
Amos and Claudine Delva bought their home on a quiet little street in Pompano Beach, Florida approximately 15 years ago. They signed the mortgage and note with IndyMac Federal Bank, FSB. In 2008, when the construction industry crashed, Mr. Delva, a construction worker, sensing that he might be in trouble if the downslide in the industry continued began actively working with IndyMac to modify his loan. Soon thereafter IndyMac Federal Bank, FSB filed its foreclosure Complaint, January 3, 2009.
The Delva’s are asking and what they have always asked for, is that IndyMac Federal Bank, FSB return the funds to the investment company, ILN Management, LLC and renegotiate the loan. Help us keep this family in their home by delivering this message:
“We, Amos and Claudine’s neighbors, friends, citizens of Broward County and the state of Florida demand that Amos and Claudine Delva of 270 NE 27th Street, Pompano Beach, FL (Broward County Case # CACE 09-000519 (05) be granted the right to stay in their home, the Summary Judgment be vacated, that the title be returned to the Delvas and for IndyMac to return the funds to the investor and to renegotiate the loan in good faith!”
Dexter has lived in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point community in San Francisco his whole life and has watched the foreclosure crisis devastate his neighborhood. While mourning his wife’s death and struggling with only one income, he worked to get a loan modification. Instead, Wells Fargo gave him lost paperwork, contradictory answers, or simply ignored his phone calls altogether. And then they wrongfully foreclosed, evicting Dexter and his four kids.
So last week, with the support of his neighbors, his longshoreman union brothers and sisters (ILWU Locals 6. 10 and 91), SEIU Local 1021 and a large group of supporters, he reoccupied his home and announced that if Wells Fargo comes, he won’t go. Standing in solidarity with him were Monica Kenney, an Excelsior homeowner to whom Wells Fargo offered a forbearance agreement and then sold her home the very next day. and Archbishop Franzo King, a Bayview community leader who was fraudulently qualified for an unaffordable pick-a-pay loan and is now fighting the sale of his home. They were also joined by the rest of the Wells Fargo 8: Maria Villareal, Donna and Nuno Vieira, Victor Granada, Ernesto Viscarpa, and Alberto Del Rio.
Josephine Tolbert has lived in her home in the city’s Portola District since 1975, opening a daycare business there in 1995. After running into financial trouble a few years ago, Tolbert was sued and her daycare temporarily shut down. When she fell behind on her payments, Bank of America sold Tolbert’s home in a short sale to real estate company True Compass, who evicted the 75-year-old great-grandmother two weeks ago. The company changed the locks on the house while Tolbert was out. But Josephine, with the support of her neighbors stood up and fought back and got True Compass to back off from this eviction attempt.
Now Josephine is calling upon Bank of America to give her a permanent modification. You can help. Call Bank of America official Monica Lozano, and tell her to negotiate with Josephine.
Call Bank of America official Monica Lozano at 866-214-2430 and tell her (politely) that you are making an emergency call about Josephine Tolbert. Ask her to do the right thing and negotiate a permanent modification that will allow Josephine to stay in her home
If you get a voicemail leave a message.
Report the results of your call here.
MEET BERTINA: A familiar story to millions of Americans, Bank of America used the financial crisis to take advantage of Bertina Jones. Bertina did everything right. Like millions of Americans, she fell behind on her mortgage after losing her job in wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Hoping to take responsibility for missed payments, she met with Bank of America to renegotiate her mortgage, and was offered a modification in January of 2009. She kept making payments, and while the bank acknowledged it had received her money, it told her that her paperwork was lost. In the Summer of 2010, she was informed that the modification was off the table, and in September, Bank of America sold her mortgage to Freddie Mac which continued with foreclosure.
Fred Shrum bought his house in 2007 and began working on it. “I had hoped to lay down some roots and become part of this community,” he said. “I’ve been fixing up the house since then, installing new windows and insulation. I think I’ve put about $20,000 into it in renovations, altogether.”
Shrum isn’t ready to let go. As he said at the press conference, he and his family are prepared to stay in the house as an act of civil disobedience and in protest of how bailed-out banks treat U.S. homeowners. With the help of Occupy Our Homes and groups including Occupy Detroit, People Before Banks, Moratorium Now, and UAW Local 600, they will fight the eviction.
“I don’t expect anyone to give me the house,” Shrum said. “I just want to be treated fairly. I want Wells Fargo to come back to the table and see if we can find an arrangement that works in both our interests.”
ACCE is calling for action to help Arturo de los Santos and his family.
Arturo de los Santos has lived in his Riverside, CA with his wife and four children for over ten years. When the economic crisis hit in 2008, the factory he works at reduced his hours. Like millions of hardworking Americans, the reduced income forced him to pursue a modification in his mortgage, which is owned by Freddie Mac. The mortgage servicer, JP Morgan Chase, informed de los Santos that in order to negotiate a loan modification he had to be in default on his loan. De los Santos was caught in the Catch-22 that proved to be profitable for Freddie Mac but devastating for his family.
On Friday January 27 at 3:30pm Occupy Atlanta will rally at 404 Glen Iris and march side by side with the Pittman family to Chase Bank where we will demand the deed to the home that is rightfully theirs, letting the bank know we refuse to work with them on their terms. Occupy Atlanta is one of many Occupy groups participating in this nationwide struggle against JPMorgan Chase, a corporation that treats the general public as no more than means to the ends of profit. Like many hardworking individuals across the nation, the late Ms. Eloise Pittman was victimized by predatory lending. The Pittman family has been fighting to save the family home since November 2011. This past week Chase gave the Pittman family an ultimatum: either buy back their home or accept the $2500 “cash for keys” offer. Occupy Atlanta will be escalating the campaign against these predatory banks beginning Friday. Friday’s action promises to be bold, diverse and unlike anything Occupy Atlanta has done yet. Pastors from multiple Churches will participate in the march and hold a prayer service outside the bank, while others with OA enact creative direct action.
Update: We won! Helen Bailey’s home was saved and she’ll be able to keep it!
Tell Chase that in Nashville, in America, we don’t throw elderly ladies out on the street. In Nashville, in America, we fight for what’s right. Helen Bailey marched for civil rights. It’s our turn to march for Helen Bailey.
UPDATE (5-29-2012): The Ward family won! With the help of Occupy Birmingham and activists around the country, the Wards forced Bank of America to the table and negotiated a deal that will let them keep their house. Learn about it here.
UPDATE (1-17-2012): As a result of the hard work and participation of people like you, we have been successful in opening communication with Bank of America. The Wards received a phone call from Bank of America corporate offices, and they have moved the foreclosure sale date to March 29, 2012. Communication lines are open, and this is a first step toward potential negotiations. As a direct result of your participation, YOU have given the Wards a voice in standing up to Bank of America’s wrongful foreclosure.
This is not the end. We demand that Bank of America commit to a negotiation where the Wards gain ownership of the home that is rightfully theirs.
Occupy Birmingham is taking a stand against Bank of America by moving into local communities to help those under the threat of wrongful foreclosure. Our first “Occupy Our Homes” action is on the behalf of the Ward family. Due to a real estate agent’s fraud, the Wards are on the brink of losing their home even though they’ve NEVER MISSED A SINGLE PAYMENT. While they have the ability to continue paying their mortgage, Bank of America refuses to allow them to keep their home (which they’ve already paid over 35,000 dollars on) after a real estate company pocketed 2 years of payments made on the property. Rather than allow the family to pay on the home, the bank prefers to lose money and offer it up for auction on January 12 January 26. Not only will this cost the Wards’ their home, but the entire neighborhood is devalued by rising number of foreclosures.
January 02, 2012
Update: Wells Fargo has has agreed to delay the eviction of the Tehiva/Phillips’ family until February 15th. Read more at 4closurefraud.org.
The Tehiva family is asking for you to take action and fax the Hana Sheriff’s Department and Police Department to stop their eviction.
We are literally crying out to all that can be on our property on Jan. 2nd to make a silent stand for what is right and protest against the fraudulent act of the bank.
On Jan. 2, Monday our entire family will be wrongfully evicted off of our property. Our family will not leave this property that we live on. Please come to our house at 5305 Hana Hwy on Jan. 2nd to help us support this cause. Our goal is to try and get as many people on our property to make a silent stand. If you know of any individual or group that can help with this stand, please call us. If any changes occur, we will let everyone know. We presently have our family attorney working hard in stopping this act of eviction from happening.
Mahalo, the Tehiva/Phillips ‘Ohana
Update: Lesliane has won a victory that will allow her to have a good home. Read about it here
A disabled and bedridden schoolteacher has vowed not to leave her home if evicted. After gathering over 3000 supporters on a change.org petition and gathering press coverage of her plight, the Lesliane Bouchard has now called on the Occupy Our Homes movement to support her plight. Facing foreclosure, there is a simple solution. Ms. Bouchard has approved by the Hardest Hit States Fund principal reduction program. If First Mortgage Corporation opts into this program, she will have the funding to keep her house.
Eloise Pittman passed away last week. Her family is now left with a mountain of debt, and is trying to save a home that’s been in their family for over 50 years. Chase bank has been unwilling to find a solution that keeps them in their home.
Brigitte Walker is a decorated Iraq War veteran. She entered the army right out of high school and served for 21 years. In 2007 she was medically discharged. As a result she is now living on a fixed income and struggling to find work. Now she is facing eviction. After putting her life on the line for her country, it’s time that someone step up to defend her from this injustice.
Debbie Henry tells the story of what she and her husband Robert are facing with their foreclosure and why they are occupying their home:
“Our home was our future, and we thought that we’d invested wisely. We were making our payments, even though now it’s worth a third of what we paid for it. But after I had my stroke, we just couldn’t keep up. We tried to work with the banks to get a fair deal, but they gave us the run-around for years. Now they want to throw us out. I thought they got all this taxpayer money so that families like us could have a second chance,” said Debbie, a former manager at a food services company.
Read more and take action to help Debbie and Robert keep their home.
Bobby Hull says:
“If people start getting together we may have a chance. I’ve served my time in Vietnam and I’m not afraid to fight again.”
Ms. Mary Lee Ward:
“You gotta put up a hard fight for the faith. You have to stick with it, when you know that you’re right, you know you have the evidence, you know you have the facts. Don’t let nobody walk over you. Don’t let nobody make you a slave.”
“I’m not hiding. I’m not running away. I want to keep my home.”
“It got cold in here one night. The next morning I called the gas company to have them light my furnace. The billing department told me that Century 21 (the real estate agency) had called them and told them they’d be the realtors for the house.” So White called U.S. Bank and found out that as of January 26, 2011 her house was sold. “I didn’t find out until October 24,” White said, “I just feel betrayed. I feel like US Bank strung me along until the redemption period ran out and then they stole my house out from under me.”
My family has been in this neighborhood for 50 years, and since I’ve been evicted, the place has been vacant, like so many homes in the Bayview. Families have been ripped off by banks, scammed by brokers and nothing’s done to them. It’s time for the families and the community to stand up and take back what’s theirs.