Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Occupy Atlanta Helps Save Iraq War Veteran's Home From Foreclosure

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/443231/thumbs/r-OCCUPY-ATLANTA-VETERAN-HOME-large570.jpgOccupy Atlanta Helps Save Iraq War Veteran's Home From Foreclosure

WASHINGTON -- In a tangible victory by the Occupy movement, Occupy Atlanta has successfully helped save an Iraq War veteran from foreclosure.

Activists began occupying Brigitte Walker's home on Dec. 6. By the end of that first week, JPMorgan Chase, which owns her mortgage, began discussing with the activists and Walker the possibility of a loan modification. Chase's modification offer became official Monday morning. The offer will result, Walker tells The Huffington Post, in hundreds per month in savings.

Before Occupy Atlanta set up its tents on her lawn, Chase had set an eviction date for Jan. 3. Now, Walker, who lives with her girlfriend and her two children, will get to stay in her Riverdale, Ga. home.

"I strongly believe Occupy Atlanta accelerated the process and helped save my home," Walker says. "If it had not been for them standing up, I probably wouldn't be having this happy ending."

Chase did not return a request seeking comment.

Tim Franzen, an organizer with Occupy Atlanta, credits Walker and her story with bringing Chase to the bargaining table.

"Her story is compelling," he tells HuffPost. "I think that's one of the things that drew us to her home -- just very clear injustice on a woman who had literally been injured in one of our wars and suffered legitimate hardship. When Chase suffered their hardship, they were just given all this money."

Walker, 44, joined the Army in 1985 and had been among the first U.S. personnel to enter Iraq in February 2003. She witnessed fellow soldiers die and get maimed. She saw a civilian embedded with them get killed. "It was very nerve-wracking," she says. "It makes you wonder if you're going to survive."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/19/occupy-atlanta-saves-iraq-veterans-home-from-foreclosure_n_1158097.html?ref=tw

Friday, 9 December 2011

Now it's 'Occupy foreclosed homes'

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement rally around a foreclosed home during a march in East New York earlier this week.

(CNN) -- Neighbors said the house on Vermont Street in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood had been vacant for years. Three years ago the now-defunct predatory lending bank Countrywide refused to renegotiate the ballooning interest rate on a mortgage filled with hidden clauses and traps. Instead, Countrywide sold the mortgage to Bank of America, which, in turn, initiated foreclosure proceedings. In the East New York neighborhood, one of the poorest parts of the United States, more than 16 per 1,000 homes are in foreclosure, the highest rate in New York City and one of the highest nationwide.
Banks are foreclosing on homes at rates far faster than they can sell them. In a report released this week, the Government Accountability Office, the independent research arm of Congress, found an increasing percentage of homes are going unused due to high rates of foreclosure and unemployment: "Nonseasonal vacant properties have increased 51% nationally from nearly 7 million in 2000 to 10 million in April 2010, with 10 states seeing increases of 70% or more," the report said.
In our down housing market, most foreclosed homes sit vacant for years and, neglected by the banks, fall into disrepair and further blight neighborhoods. You can literally walk down any block in East New York and see every sixth house or so boarded up. One study in Los Angeles estimated that, between 2008 and 2012, all homeowners will lose $78.8 billion in home values due to foreclosure rates and blighted homes in their neighborhoods.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Occupy Wall Street help Tasha Glasgow reclaim a home in East NY from Bank of America

Occupy Wall Street help Tasha Glasgow reclaim a home in East NY from Bank of America (photo: VOCALNewYork)

At least twenty-five cities held actions as part of the “Occupy Our Homes” Day of Action yesterday. In St. Louis, Occupy St. Louis held their General Assembly meeting in Anna Quain’s house, where she has lived for 14 years but now faces eviction after bank foreclosure. Sabrina Morey invited Occupy Chicago to support her in the vacant foreclosed home she moved her family into last month. In Southgate, Michigan, Debbie & Robert Henry held an action refusing to comply with an eviction from their home.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street helped the Quincy Family move into a vacant property in Brooklyn. The family “took matters into their own hands and reclaimed property that was taken away from the community.” The action had support from neighbors. Hundreds of people came out to support the family making the action a very special moment.

In Minneapolis, Bobby Hull, a former Marine, received support (and was featured on “Rachel Maddow”). His home was sold at a “foreclosure sale in August,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Seventy-five showed up to support Hull, whose family will be evicted in February after the “redemption period” ends. He told demonstrators, “This is just a start, we want to stop it here…Nobody is leaving their homes anymore….We are the people.” The Star-Tribune, in producing their report on the Hull action, discovered neither US Bank nor Bank of America could agree who had authority over the home. (So, in that case, Hull should have the right to live there until they get that figured out, right?)
Occupy Our Homes reported victories in California with Occupy Oakland:
ACCE Home Defenders League and community supporters: A West Oakland mother of three reclaimed her home earlier in the day. A delegation of a family under foreclosure threat met with Wells Fargo officials, who agreed to postpone the foreclosed home’s sale. Disrupted the foreclosure auction at the Oakland county courthouse. More than a dozen homes were prevented from being auctioned.
For a collection of videos and other reports from the day, go to this post at Occupy Our Homes. The short film (below) on the Quincy family claiming the Brooklyn home is extremely poignant and well-produced.


San Francisco Police Pull Surprise Raid - 70 arrested and dismantle around 100 tents

Americans Re-Occupy Their Homes

Today, Americans stood up and said, "We have a right to shelter. No one can take that right from us." Today we re-occupied our homes. http://i.imgur.com/Pg305l.jpg
In East New York, Brooklyn - a foreclosed home is being reclaimed today by a local homeless family. #OWS, along with local neighbors and community groups, has pledged to stay with the family and defend them from eviction. Kendall Jacklman from Picture The Homeless spoke to the housing crisis ongoing in New York City, saying, "There is enough housing in this city to shut down the Department of Homeless Services and offer everyone decent, affordable housing based on our real wages."
We own our homes - a callous bank that split ownership of our homes into hundreds of parts, redistributing them across the world under false ratings does not own our homes. Banks are able to restructure settlements constantly - we are not - they receive billions of dollars enabling them to stay afloat for long enough to steal our homes. Do not let them.
Across the nation occupiers along with community groups shut down foreclosure auctions and reclaimed homes for families displaced by the global economic crisis. Two homes in Atlanta were re-occupied. In Oakland, foreclosure auctions were disrupted at the county courthouse - more than a dozen homes were saved.
We stand in solidarity with homeowners across the country and the world whose homes are in the process of being stolen by faceless conglomerations motivated only by profit. We are the 99%. We will not let our homes be stolen.


'Occupy Our Homes' Tours East New York's Foreclosed Homes (VIDEO)

Occupy Oakland protesters focus on home foreclosure

Wednesday, December 7, 2011The Occupy movement entered a new phase on Tuesday with a day of marches, rallies and direct actions in more than 20 cities nationwide, including Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, to draw attention to the home foreclosure crisis.

With the "Occupy Our Homes" events, a movement sometimes criticized for lacking a clear message is focusing on issues - the plight of homeowners facing foreclosure and the lending practices of big banks - that showcase its message of economic inequality.

The Oakland protests, at which demonstrators "reclaimed" foreclosed properties, shouted down foreclosure auctions, waved banners outside banks, and held several rallies and marches, drew dozens of participants. The actions, some of them under the watchful eyes of deputy sheriffs or local police, were peaceful, although they included protesters entering and occupying foreclosed properties owned by banks or other institutions.

"We are diversifying, trying to address issues people find most problematic," said Julia Sebastian, an Oakland social justice activist and a member of Occupy Oakland's Home Defense Committee. "We want to put more pressure on banks and show how they caused this problem."

On Tuesday evening, Gayla Newsome, a technology salesperson and single mom of three daughters, stood in front of the West Oakland property that she lost to foreclosure in July after a divorce and job loss, and said "I've moved back in," as about 100 protesters chanted and waved signs in support. She declined to say how she regained access to the three-bedroom townhouse.

"I hope to bring visibility to this issue and get the bank to have a conversation with me," she said.

Millions of homes

More than 6 million homes have been seized by banks since 2007 and 8 million more are likely to undergo foreclosure over the next four years, according to a recent report by Michelle Meyer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch senior U.S. economist