By Mel Fabrikant
Hundreds Demand Action from Obama on Foreclosure Crisis in LA, NY, DC, ATL, CHI; Growing Movement of Foreclosure Casualties Demand Answers **Personal stories available on wearethefanniefreddie99.tumblr.org. Families affected by foreclosure are available for interviews. To schedule, contact Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org **
Thousands of families will join protests across five cities this week to demand that President Obama take immediate steps to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage giants responsible for more foreclosures and evictions than any other bank. Protests in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Washington, DC will all be led by families affected by the housing crisis and wave of foreclosures.
Partners include Right to the City Alliance, Home Defenders League, Occupy Our Homes, Alliance for a Just Society, and many more. For a full list of events and partners, see: http://righttothecity.org/index.php/take-action#campaign1
“We are here to defend people’s homes and their right to the city. We will not stand for the financialization of our neighborhoods. We will not stand for displacement. We will not stand for evictions. Families are fed up and exhausted by the seemingly endless wave of foreclosures. They want answers, and they want them now,” said Right to the City Alliance Executive Director Rachel Laforest.
Demands are to immediately stop foreclosures and evictions, accept rent from residents, offer foreclosed properties to former owners and/or local non-profits at value rather than selling to hedge funds, and finally to fire FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco.
“We’re coming together across the country to demand that Fannie and Freddie stop evictions and keep people in their homes. Families like mine can afford to pay, but Fannie and Freddie refuse to accept rent or sell back at current value, and evict instead. That’s got to change! So we’re standing up to fight back,” says Roline Burgison, a Providence Rhode Island tenant who is facing eviction after her landlord’s home was foreclosed by Fannie Mae and is attending the NYC event.
Events will include families taking over regional Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offices to demand answers, with protesters brandishing mops and buckets to “clean house.” Protesters say the wave of foreclosures are tearing apart communities.
Homeowners facing foreclosure at historic rates will be looking for answers from both President Obama and Governor Romney this year. One in three homeowners nationwide are currently underwater, the highest risk factor for foreclosure. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own 59% of mortgages nationwide, and 3 million homeowners under the taxpayer owned mortgage giants currently face or are about to face foreclosure. In just May this year, 205, 990 homes went into foreclosure. Both Fannie and Freddie are in process of selling the homes of evicted families in bulk to investors, enraging many of the families participating in this week’s protests. Taxpayers own a 80% stake in the mortgage giants.
“Since Fannie Mae foreclosed on our building last year, no one has come to make repairs and the health of our children is suffering everyday. We have mold, rats, roaches, broken windows, holes in the walls, and for six months, we lived without electricity. The City has told Fannie Mae that they must fix the conditions or pay relocation assistance, but the bank refuses,” Jesus Herrera, roofer and father of four, Los Angeles, CA