Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Communities say NO to bank evictions...

Anti-eviction rallies to support Metro-Boston residents fighting Fannie Mae

Communities say NO to bank evictions funded with tax dollars – Two simultaneous courthouse rallies for occupants of Fannie Mae-owned properties, responding to FHFA principal reduction refusal announcement

Thursday, August 9th, 8:30 AM

Malden District Court, 89 Summer Street, Malden, MA

Dominic DeSiata, Community Organizer, City Life/Vida UrbanaTwitter: @NorthSide_BTA

Dorchester District Court, 510 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA

Info: Maria Christina Blanco, Organizer, City Life/Vida Urbana – 617-524-3541x313,, Twitter: @CityLife_CLVU

Malden -  Residents will come out to show support for Malden resident Gary Rogers, before his Summary Judgement hearing in court. Gary has been fighting Fannie Mae in order to repurchase his home after foreclosure. He was  approved for a new mortgage by non-profit lender Boston Community Capital, but instead of accepting BCC's cash offer to buy at current value, Fannie Mae is evicting. Gary is determined to keep his family in their home. If the bank will not sell at a fair price, he is willing to pay rent while they entertain other offers.  The North Side Bank Tenant Association, which offers support and solidarity for area residents in foreclosure, will lead a rally in support of Gary and other residents whose cries for fairness seem to fall on deaf ears with the nation’s largest mortgage companies.

Gary is a well known community member in Malden and has broad backing.  He grew up in his home on Warren Avenue, and today coaches football at Malden High School in addition to his job at the MWRA. Last year he joined the Bank Tenants Association after other attempts at gaining assistance failed.  At a rally at his previous court date last month, Malden Mayor Gary Christenson spoke out in his support.

Boston - Neighbors, homeowners, childcare workers, and tenant activists will rally on the steps of Dorchester District Court where Yolanda Nova has a hearing on her eviction case, asking “Why is government-run bank Fannie Mae using our tax dollars to evict a small business owner's family and daycare program from their home?”  Yolanda is a tenant whose elderly father and 7-year-old granddaughter live with and depend on her financially. She paid her rent every month, but in March 2012 her landlord lost the house to the bank.  The property passed into the hands of the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”).  When Yolanda asked for a rental contract, she was refused, because she runs a home daycare that serves her neighborhood. Now she is applying for a loan to make an offer to buy the house where she has invested her time and money building her small business. But instead of working with her, Fannie Mae is taking her to court and wants to throw her family out of their home and shut down her childcare program.

Yolanda is a double victim of the housing crisis.  She came to live in her current home of 5 years as a result of her own foreclosure. In 2008 she fell prey to a predatory lender and lost her house to a bank. She was given a $600,000 loan with a high interest rate for an old house in a poor neighborhood of Boston, and when she fell behind on the payments that rose to $8,000/month, the house was sold at auction for its real value: only $250,000.  A modification of her underwater mortgage that included principal reduction to real value – something the head of Fannie and Freddie opposes, along with the Wall St. banks, over the objections of the Obama administration - would have saved her.  Losing her home and savings was very hard, but Yolanda pulled up and went forward, and moved to her current house to start over.  She has been a good tenant, and invested her own  resources in maintaining and improving the property, in order to to comply with state daycare licensing regulations.  She has set up her home, inside and outside, for the benefit of the children she cares for, one of whom is disabled.  She has worked hard, as a single mother, for her family to get ahead, and at the same time to serve her community by helping kids prepare for school.  Now Fannie Mae wants her to move out and take a big loss all over again.  But this time she's fighting back.  Yolanda has joined the Bank Tenants Association at City Life/Vida Urbana and is fighting her post-foreclosure eviction.

Yolanda Nova and Gary Rogers' stories are part of a massive pattern of discrimination and displacement linked to predatory lending and the housing bubble. Hundreds of thousands of families are in the same situation.  Subprime mortgages originally given out by Wall St. banks are ending up with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which now back half of all home loans. But while these banks were bailed out with taxpayer money, small homeowners and tenants are left holding the bag. Foreclosure is robbing them of their homes, their savings, and their small businesses. Communities of color and immigrant communities were unfairly targeted and are hardest hit.  Fannie and Freddie came under government control and are 80% taxpayer-owned since their 2008 bailout.   The suffering caused by foreclosure doesn't end with the family that is put out, but spreads to drag down entire communities, so angry local residents want to know, why won't they use the public's funds in the public interest?

The City Life/Vida Urbana and North Side Bank Tenants Associations are part of a regional movement called New England Workers and Residents Organizing Against Displacement (NEW ROAD). It includes local groups in nine cities across Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

No comments:

Post a Comment