The foreclosure crisis hit Vine City hard. Now, only 15% of residents own their
homes and many of them are facing hardship, like resident Pamela Flores whose
property backs up to Martin Luther King III and City Councilman Michael Julian
Pamela bought her home at an inflated amount in 2006, the
height of the crime spree at the hands of American banking institutions. In 2009
she attempted to get a loan modification with Bank of America through the
“Making Homes Affordable” program. The bank told her that in order to qualify
she needed to miss 3-4 mortgage payments; this is a scam that has already put
countless Americans out of their homes. During the time she missed payments, at
the banks request and in order to meet the loan modification criteria, she fell
into foreclosure. By qualifying for the “Making Homes Affordable” program
foreclosure was temporarily avoided. Pamela began to pay trial period monthly
payments for the “Making Homes Affordable” program. When it was time for Bank of
America to grant her the promised modification, they instead mailed her a
notification alleging that she failed to make four out of five payments. Her
home, unknowing to her, was slated for auction at the Fulton County courthouse
during the time the bank claimed to be researching their records for the
“missing” payments. The thing is, Pamela Flores never missed a payment, in fact
she was never even late, and has all the records to prove it.
Pamela was forced to file for Chapter 13 and 7 bankruptcy in order to stop Bank of America from stealing her home. The act of filing has stopped Pamela from being able to recieve a student loan she had formally been approved for in her effort to pursue a
masters degree at Emory University. Her ordeal with Bank of America has forever
impacted the course of her life. The home she paid over $180k for is now
appraised at $38k.
Since she reached out to Occupy Atlanta a few weeks ago, we were able to
work with the Rainbow Push Coalition to put off her home auction for one
month–but that’s not good enough. Occupy Atlanta has begun a full scale occupation of Pamela’s home until Bank of America makes a deal to keep her in it. Occupy Atlanta
will work with her community to establish a base for defending other homes
at risk of foreclosure and eviction. We plan to target private and public
institutions that continue to disrespect Vine City residents.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is committed to maintaining a 24/7 presence at the home of Pamela Flores until Bank of America makes a deal that keeps her in home. During our
time here we also plan to work with the Vine City community to create a hub, at
Pamela’s home, for eviction/foreclosure defense. We invite folks from
surrounding communities who are struggling with housing issues to come down to
245 Griffin Street, Atlanta and work with us to build the communties we can
survive and thrive in.
Occupy Our Homes DC,
Occupy Our Homes DC- At noon on Monday, February 27th Occupy DC’s Occupy Our Homes group will meet at the Archives Metro Station to launch its first major rally and action, bringing the struggle for housing to the doors of a financial institution that continues to fail the public it was chartered to serve.
With the help of public money, big banks are again making record profits but continue the deceitful practices that threw the world into crisis—a phenomenon that has caused ruin here in the DC Metro area, especially in communities of color. With one in four people behind on their mortgage, Prince George’s County suffers one of the worst foreclosure crises in the United States. More than one in three homes in the county currently face foreclosure.
Now, across the country, members of the increasingly disenfranchised 99 percent are fighting back.
Occupy Our Homes DC stands with our friend Ms. Bertina Jones, a victim of dishonest banking practices, in her fight to remain in her home and community. She lives in Bowie, MD, where she raises her grandson and regularly attends church services and PTA meetings. Throwing Ms. Jones out of her home and displacing her and her grandson will only further a vacancy crisis that has haunted Prince George’s County since the housing bubble burst in 2008.
Bertina Jones has a right to keep her home. Nationwide, people have been standing up against the banksters that are trying to evict them. “Fighting for my house is not just for me. It is for all of us that they have taken advantage of. I feel that if I stand up, more will stand up and together we can do something to stop them. We bailed them out when they were in trouble, we gave them our tax money and all we asked them to do is modify the loans and help the homeowners stay in their homes,” said Bertina Jones.
We expect to win. Communities have staged successful home defenses in Atlanta, New York City ,Los Angeles, Detroit, and many other cities across the country. Inspired by this growing movement, people in the Washington DC area are taking a stand for the human right to housing.
At noon on February 27, Bertina Jones, Occupy Our Homes-DC, Senior Minister Reverend Hagler of Plymouth Congregational Christ, members of the community and the Occupy DC family will be taking action outside Freddie Mac’s downtown Washington office (7th and D streets Northwest).
Housing is a human right, not a privilege. The 99% will no longer allow profits to subvert people’s needs.The spring offensive is coming!