As Freddie Mac comes under scrutiny for betting billions on investments that profit if homeowners they issued loans to are locked into high interest mortgages, we speak with Arturo de los Santos, a U.S. Marine veteran who was evicted last year in Riverside, California, after Freddie Mac and JP Morgan Chase foreclosed on his house last June. “We were trying to get the bank’s attention to review our case again. We could not believe that after they had evicted us, they modified our loan,” de los Santos says. “I called them and I told them, ‘I thought we were doing the loan modification.’ And they go, ‘Well, we have a Loan Modificationdepartment and a Foreclosure department, and the Foreclosure department decided to sell the house.’ So they sold the house.” De los Santos and his family re-occupied their home in December with help from the Occupy movement, but face eviction again this week.
Thom talks with journalist, Sarah Seltzer and Deputy Director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Christina Livingston about the protesters of Occupy Wall Street‘s decision to shift their focus from occupying city streets to occupying the homes of people at risk of foreclosure.
On Tuesday, Occupy MN will occupy their third foreclosed home in Minneapolis. This time the activist group will come to the aid of Bobby Hull, a Vietnam veteran with the Marine Corp., who first began living in his South Minneapolis home when his mother bought it in 1968. According to Occupy MN, “The title was later transferred to him, and he made timely payments on the house for decades while his nine brothers and sisters and innumerable extended family used the home as a stable transition point as they worked through the economic downturn. He was able to continue making payments until a string of recent health problems began.” Hull has had no luck gaining a loan modification with Bank of America.
The bank recently bought the home back at a sheriff’s sale for $83,700, and Hull and his family face a February 2012 eviction from their childhood home, in the dead of a Minnesota winter. “We need to do something to straighten out this nation?.we’re supposed to be the United States and we need to unite together in these hard times ” says Hull. “What’s fair is fair. All I’m asking for is fair housing.” Occupy MN will stage a rally at Bobby Hull’s home at 3712 Columbus Ave. South on Tuesday afternoon. This follows the activist group’s successful and continued occupation of Monique White’s foreclosed home in North Minneapolis, and their ill-fated attempt to occupy Sa’ra Kaiser‘s home in South Minneapolis last month. (An offer was made on Kaiser’s for-sale home the night before the occupation began, which probably led to two police raids and the eviction of the protestors.) “Our anti-foreclosure work in Minneapolis has helped to create a National movement,” Anthony Newby of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change told The UpTake. The goal is simple. We want sensible bank and foreclosure reform that will allow folks like Bob and Monique and Sa’ra to stay in their homes. We believe that big banks owe every homeowner a good faith negotiation that has this goal as a focus. We intend to organize our communities around this idea until it happens.”