February 2012, Week 3


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 17 Feb 2012 21:56:16 -0500
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[Our friends at thinkprogress.org have been keeping
abreast of the Occupy Our Homes movement. Here are a few
reports. -- moderator]

Nashville: Occupy Our Homes Saves Former Civil Rights
Activist Helen Bailey From Foreclosure

By Adam Peck 
Feb 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Helen Bailey, the 78 year-old former civil rights
activist who was threatened with foreclosure by J.P
Morgan Chase while the company trumpeted its efforts to
uphold Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, will be able to
remain in her home until she passes away after a
successful campaign by Occupy Nashville:

     "I feel like a weight has been lifted off my
     shoulders," Bailey said. "I love my home and my
     community and I am so blessed to be able to stay
     here. I am thankful for the support of my neighbors
     and the nation."

     The terms of the agreement from her mortgage-
     holder, JPMorgan Chase, are sealed, but previous
     settlement attempts involved a reverse mortgage
     that would let the new lender sell her home when
     she dies.

Occupy Nashville took up Bailey's cause last month and
received national attention for their efforts. Bailey
was seeking to refinance her mortgage with JP Morgan
Chase which would have allowed her to remain in her home
for free until she dies, but the bank initially refused.
A petition at Change.org collected over 80,000
signatures, and prominent civil rights activists like
Cornel West and Gary Flowers, the Executive Director of
the Black Leadership Forum voiced their support for
Bailey as well.


Occupy Detroit Successfully Saves Home For Couple Facing

By Pat Garofalo
Feb 1, 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement, as we noted last month,
is shifting its focus to helping the 99 percent avoid
foreclosures. And for one couple in Detroit, that help
resulted in them being able to keep their home of 22
years, when it looked like they could be evicted at any

     Two weeks ago the couple got formal notice of an
     eviction. On Monday, a contractor attempted to
     place a dumpster on the Garrett property, a step
     required before an eviction can take place,
     according to city code.

     But also on Monday, members of Moratorium Now,
     Occupy Detroit and Homes Before Banks rallied at
     the Detroit office of the Bank of New York Mellon
     Trust Co., the trustee of the Garretts' mortgage.
     The family's supporters also blocked the contractor
     from placing the dumpster.

     On Tuesday morning a representative of Statebridge
     Co., a servicer for their mortgage, called the
     family to say the company would accept their offer
     of $12,000 to buy back their home, said the
     Garretts' daughter, Michele Finley.

This is not the only house that Occupy Detroit has tried
to keep out of foreclosure, nor is it the only
successful instance of the Occupy movement keeping
someone in their home. In places as far apart as
Atlanta, Rochester, and Cleveland, Occupy members have
managed to prevent foreclosures. Bank of America went so
far as to warn its field managers to prepare for Occupy
actions around soon-to-be foreclosed upon homes.
Detroit is the 18th worst city for foreclosures in the
nation, down from its number one ranking in 2008, and
already has more than 70,000 unoccupied homes. The mayor
has set a goal of demolishing 10,000 empty homes by the
end of the year.


'Occupy' Group Tries to Prevent Another Eviction

By Sarah Cwiek

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio
February 14, 2012

The "Occupy our Homes" movement has taken up the cause
of Fred Shrum, another homeowner facing foreclosure in
Metro Detroit.

The group is a coalition of anti-foreclosure groups,
organized labor, and other activists with the Detroit
"Occupy" movement.

So far, their protests on behalf of people facing
foreclosure have helped keep four Metro Detroit families
in their homes-including one case where protesters
blocked a dumpster that came to clear out the house.

Those families were able to re-negotiate terms with
their lenders.

Now, the group wants to help Shrum. The Dearborn Heights
homeowner sought a mortgage modification when he had to
take a pay cut and undergo surgery.

But after what he calls a long and confusing back-and-
forth with mortgage servicer Wells Fargo, Shrum didn't
get the modification--and now faces eviction. But he
plans to resist that and stay in his home-with help from
the "Occupy" group. About two dozen showed up to show
their support on Tuesday.

Still, Shrum says he's packed a few boxes, "Because I
heard that they've actually thrown people out. So if you
look in my living room, I have boxes all over in case it
gets nasty."

Shrum faces an eviction hearing Thursday.

"Occupy Our Homes" organizer Erik Shelley says the
movement is drawing attention to the circumstances
behind foreclosure-and so far, that's proved to be a
spotlight banks want to avoid.

"So when the banks come to take one of these houses, if
we tell them 'No, we're gonna stand up to you,' they
move on," Shelley said. "And I think that's gonna be
true as we move forward."


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