FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Monday October 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM
Contact: Malcolm Chu, 718-666-6872
STATEMENT REGARDING MAYOR SARNO’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO IMPLEMENT VACANT & FORECLOSED PROPERTY ORDINANCE.
We applaud Mayor Sarno’s announcement this morning regarding the implementation of the vacant & foreclosed property ordinance and hope the City Council will approve the appropriations request to implement the ordinance. After more than two years, this marks an important step forward to hold financial institutions accountable for the crisis they created. While implementation of one piece of the ordinance is a move in the right direction, however, Mayor Sarno’s failure to implement the second piece of the anti-foreclosure legislation, requiring banks to mediate with homeowners before foreclosure, continues to leave hundreds of families without support to stay in their homes and cost Springfield taxpayers millions of dollars.
Take for example Ivette Hernandez, a state caseworker at the Department of Children and Families. Ivette is at risk of having her home foreclosed on by Fannie Mae and Nationstar Mortgage in November, despite the fact that she has double the amount of money to pay off the arrears on her mortgage. She fell behind on her mortgage 7 months ago after her and her children were both hospitalized, putting her out of work temporarily and leading to huge medical costs. Despite acknowledging that Ivette can pay the $3656.66 she owes on her mortgage, Nationstar is requiring Ivette to pay more than $10,000 in legal fees and other foreclosure expenses to stop the foreclosure. If the Mandatory Mediation ordinance were in place, Nationstar would be required to sit down with Ivette and an independent third party mediator to work towards a resolution.
Families like Ivette’s and hundreds of others have waited more than two years for the Mayor to have their back. They can’t afford to wait any longer. Today is an important step forward, but further immediate action is needed to protect Springfield’s residents and homeowners, and as the Mayor said in his press conference today “deal with financial institutions and hold them accountable.”
For more information or to speak with residents who are at risk of foreclosure who could benefit from the city’s Mandatory Mediation ordinance were it to be implemented please contact Springfield No One Leaves at 413-342-1804.
Bank Tenant Association Meeting TONIGHT 08/27/2013 @ 5:45 – 8:00 PM @ 361 Sumner Ave
Come out to our weekly BTA Organizing Meeting tonight to discuss ongoing fights against Wells Fargo, Fannie & Freddie and new actions to reclaim, rebuild and remain in our communities!
Door-to-Door Foreclosure Canvassing SATURDAY 9:30 AM – 1:00PM @ 29 Oakland St
Been wanting to figure out how to support the courageous freedom fighters and leaders at SNOL who are standing up and saying, we’re not leaving?! Join the canvassing effort this Saturday @ 9:30 AM. We’ll serve you fresh local bagels, some bold coffee, and get you fired up to STAND UP & FIGHT BACK!
Join us this Saturday for our bi-weekly door-to-door canvass of families living in foreclosed or soon to be foreclosed homes. Come out and inform people of their rights, encourage them to join the Bank Tenant Association, and empower folks to stand up and fight back!
Earlier this morning, as part of the ongoing launch of Homes For All Campaign and the DumpDeMarco Campaign, SNOL/NSM organizer Roberto Garcia, along with homeowners Ramon and Caylin, and our sister Robbie (Causa Justa) and Domenic (City Life/Vida Urbana) were arrested by Capitol Police after they took part in an awesome protest at a House Congressional Hearing where FHFA Director was testifying on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“DeMarco is kicking my family out of my home. Dump DeMarco! PrincipalReduction now!” chanted Ramon Suero as he interrupted DeMarco’s speech. “Ed DeMarco’s policies are putting my three kids, my wife, and I out on the street. If the President doesn’t get rid of him, he’s responsible for putting millions of Americans just like me on street as well.” Suero was one of the five people arrested. Other people held up signs saying “Principal Reduction, Affordable Housing, and Dump DeMarco.”
Ed DeMarco is the leading road block to principal reduction for more than 11 million underwater homeowners, and the architect of the plant to sell of vacant homes at huge discounts to investors and hedge funds for profit after foreclosure! We’re joining New Bottom Line (www.newbottomline.com) and Right To The City in calling on Obama to #DumpDeMarco and put someone in who will do principal reduction modifications and put people before profit!
Roberto, along with Homes For All spokeswoman Jackie Logan (Arise Member, Tenant in Foreclosed Home) and Arise VP Ruben Santiago are representing Springfield this week at the National Low-Income Housing Conference and a series of D.C. Homes For All Events! We look forward to their report back!
Members of New England Anti-Displacement Network (NEWROAD) Interrupts House Hearing, Urge Replacement of FHFA Head and Demand Principal Reduction. 5 Arrested during Protest.
Dozens of vigils, eviction blockades, and bank protests each month at 10 different sites.
Springfield No One Leaves: Malcolm Chu (718-666-6872)
City Life: Melonie Griffiths (617-524-3541 x315) and Steve Meacham (x310 or 617-909-6182) Three Massachusetts residents interrupted a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee this morning, urging President Obama and Congress to replace FHFA head Ed DeMarco and give loan modifications with principal reduction. The head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency had barely begun his testimony when NEW ROAD member and Dorchester resident Ramon Suero loudly and dramatically interrupted; Suero’s fight to stay in his condo has been gaining prominence on the national stage as national coalitions have circulated petitions and pressuring the Freddie Mac to negotiate with Suero.
“DeMarco is kicking my family out of my home. Dump DeMarco! Principal Reduction now!” chanted Ramon Suero as he interrupted DeMarco’s speech. “Ed DeMarco’s policies are putting my three kids, my wife, and I out on the street. If the President doesn’t get rid of him, he’s responsible for putting millions of Americans just like me on street as well.” Suero was one of the five people arrested.
For the last year, the New England Workers and Residents Organized Against Displacement (NEW ROAD) Network had been focusing its efforts on a campaign to oust the FHFA administrator, as well as condemning unfair and illogical policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two giant government supported banks were bailed out with TARP money and recently put under regulation by a new agency, FHFA. They own half the mortgages in America and are among the worst offenders in working out solutions with homeowners.
Specifically, FHFA blocks them from doing principal reduction, which would solve the foreclosure problems of millions of underwater homeowners. Fannie and Freddie are offering sales to investors and hedge funds at real value but refuse to sell for the same money to any non-profit that might sell back to the former owner or rent to the former owner! For this reason, NEW ROAD has sent busloads of members to national rallies, engaged in actions of civil disobedience, organized vigils and eviction blockades to defend against Fannie-Freddie evictions and held mock trials and protested at the home of FHFA director Ed DeMarco to demand that President Obama fire him and do principal reduction. Increasingly, elected officials and Attorney’s General across the country are joining the call.
This pressure reached a boiling point last week, when hundreds of activists gathered across the region, calling for Federal and local officials to preserve and expand access to affordable, community controlled and public housing throughout the country. The NEW ROAD Network and UNITE Here Local 26 arranged a meeting with Federal Housing Finance Administration Chief Counsel Alfred Pollard. He came to negotiate with groups fighting against Fannie and Freddie, which his agency oversees, over their refusal to grant principal reduction and their post-foreclosure eviction policies. Following the 50-delegation meeting with FHFA Chief Counsel Pollard last Wednesday, the Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley met with Pollard as well. Coakley has publicly called for principal reduction and DeMarco’s ouster. These meeting came as a result of an aggressive campaign in Boston to prevent the eviction of Suero, who is offering to buy back his condo in cash at real value, one of many regional campaigns building increased pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In Springfield, a threatened eviction blockade last Wednesday, forced Fannie Mae to call off the eviction of Jeffery Solivan and agree to negotiate.
After this high-stakes meeting, on Wednesday March 13 2013, residents throughout New England organized mass actions as part of the “Homes For All” campaign. In Boston, 150 demonstrated at Fannie Mae offices and in front of a vacant building in Chinatown, condemning slumlords and speculators as well as banks refusing to negotiate with former homeowners. In Springfield, 120 held a ‘housing crisis tour’ of the good, the bad and the ugly of foreclosed buildings and housing cooperatives, and held a rally in front of a vacant city-owned home to bring light to the housing crisis and demand Homes for All. The next night they turned out for a City Council meeting to preserve one of the strongest ordinances in the country against Wall St. Bank foreclosures. In Providence, a vigil supported new legislation that would stop Banks from evicting tenants in foreclosed buildings “no-fault”. Banks would have to have a reason to evict. Their bill is similar to one passed in Massachusetts in 2010.
These events and a dozen more each month are carried out by the NEW ROAD (New England Workers and Residents Organizing Against Displacement) network, a region-wide network of resident-led organizations mobilizing against bank foreclosures and evictions. There are currently 10 sites in New England where residents facing foreclosure or living in foreclosed buildings meet regularly to plan campaigns and support each other. For the last two years, these sites have been coordinating rallies and actions against Wall St. Banks unwilling to do principal reduction or sell back to occupants at real value after foreclosure, and to defend families against unnecessary evictions.
“We’ve come together across the region to form NEW ROAD, because together we are stronger and form a powerful movement,” says Deb Nowell, a NEW ROAD member in Springfield and a former owner fighting Fannie Mae. “Each NEW ROAD chapter is composed and led by the people directly fighting foreclosure and eviction.”
The New Bottom Line is a national coalition fueled by a coalition of community organizations including PICO National Network, National People’s Action, Alliance for a Just Society, and Right to the City. We are community groups, congregations and individuals working together to build a movement that challenges established big bank interests on behalf of struggling and middle-class communities.
After 3 Years of Fighting Back with Springfield No One Leaves against Fannie Mae David Dunwell, Yanick Dunwell, Kalimah Dunwell and the rest of the family have won their eviction case in court vs. Fannie Mae! The foreclosure has been ruled ILLEGAL and was overturned!
Now Mel Watt and Fannie Mae need to change their policies to reduce the principal amount owed and let the Dunwell Family stay in their home permanently! Fannie Mae has put the Dunwell’s through way too much already, while spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on the eviction!
Activists from Occupy Homes Minnesota Held a protest today to deliver 1350+ Petition Signatures to US Bank Headquarters in support of Springfield Resident Candejah Pink
Thursday December 19, 2013 — On a cold blustery day in downtown Minneapolis, 10 residents from Occupy Homes Minnesota (OHMN) marched on the headquarters of US Bank to deliver a petition with more than 1350 signatures in support of Candejah Pink. The petition, launched on October 22, 2013 calls on US Bank CEO Richard K. Davis to “stop evicting Candejah Pink from her home and negotiate with her to keep her, her daughters, and her granddaughter in their home!”
Candejah, humbly offered these words to activists and the world: “I really appreciate Occupy Homes Minnesota for bringing our petition to US Bank and the solidarity from across the country from people who signed the petition. Our movement fighting against corporate greed and Wall Street needs to be spread so that our economy is more balanced and more fair. I am hopeful that our movement will continue to grow and get stronger as we work together in all states.”
Candejah has been fighting for her home for more than 3 years after it was allegedly foreclosed by US Bank in 2010. In August 2013 a Western Massachusetts Housing Court judge ruled that US Bank’s eviction was illegal and threw out the case. Yet, US Bank opted to restart the eviction instead of negotiating with her.
Candejah fell behind after losing her job of 14 years at the NYC Fire Department. She now has regular monthly income and her daughter’s both work. They are able to afford their home and have been urging US Bank to give their home back to them at what it’s actually worth.
“Candejah can afford to pay and wants to pay. US Bank would rather spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to get her out and leave her home empty. The best solution for everyone is to get Candejah back her home and let her daughters and granddaughter stay, “ explains Springfield organizer Malcolm Chu.
A trial in the new eviction case has been set for January 31, 2014 at 9:00 AM in the Western Mass Housing Court in Springfield. Local organizers and the Springfield Bank Tenants Association are planning a protest in front of the court of the eviction trial in January if US Bank continues to refuse to negotiate.
The two copies of the petitions posted online can be found here:
On December 11, the Senate voted to confirm Representative Mel Watt, effectively replaced Acting Director Ed DeMarco as the new Director of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA). Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude members were a major part of forcing this administration change.
Sister Deborah Nowell sat-in in an act of civil disobedience in front of Fannie Mae’s offices in September 2012:Springfield Fannie & Freddie Families marched in the streets of Springfield, Boston, New York, and protested in front of DeMarco’s house in D.C.:
SNOL Organizer Roberto Garcia Ceballos protested DeMarco’s testimony to congress in March 2013:
And countless families stood up and bravely told their stories to fight back!
Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude believes Fannie & Freddie must immediately enact a moratorium on ALL foreclosures and evictions until Watt meets with families affected by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and makes significant policy changes to support our communities including:
Funding the National Housing Trust Fund to create and expand low-income affordable rental housing for all residents in the United States
Reducing principal to the current home value to allow millions of homeowners to stay in their homes.
Removing restrictions on reselling Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac homes to former occupants at the current market value.
Guiding GSE reform (the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to serve Main Street not Wall Street
Three years ago, on October 22, 2010 US Bank foreclosed on Candejah’s home and began trying to evict her and her family. For the last three years Candejah has fought back for her home and led the fight in Springfield against Wall Street Banks who caused the foreclosure crisis.
In August, a housing court judge ruled that US Bank illegally moved to evict Candejah and threw out their case! But now US Bank is moving to evict again! US Bank should stop this senseless eviction immediately and work with Candejah and her family to give them back their home at what its actually worth!
Candejah is one of millions of families that were victimized by predatory lending that targeted low-income and working class women of color, and a subsequent foreclosure crisis that has stolen more wealth from communities of color than any other crisis in our country’s history. But she’s standing up to fight back for her and families everywhere. Join her!
UPDATE: The Hearing scheduled on Candejah’s eviction case has been moved to January 31, 2014 at 9:00 AM.