We meet every Thursday, 6 p.m. at Old St. John's Church, located at 2120 Russell, next to Eastern Market, Detroit. It's just off I-75, and has ample parking -- enter from the parking lot side door. See map.
To discuss a possible foreclosure/eviction for the first time, please come at 5:45.
Help expose candidate Trott's dirty work foreclosing on families!
Wed. Oct. 22 at noon
294 E. Brown St., Birmingham. See map.
David Trott helped force 80,000 families out of their homes.
Now he thinks we'll elect him to Congress.
Join us in front of his office – a real estate firm that sells foreclosed homes – and help Trott “survivors” expose the deceit and inhumanity of his role as the
David Trott is the millionaire front-man for big banks who pay him to do their dirty work foreclosing on homeowners. The banks have paid billions in penalties for the foreclosure fraud Trott helped them pull off.
Abused renters are organizing!
Come to speak out & organize for city-wide tenants group
Saturday Oct. 25,
At the International Institute, 111 E. Kirby, Detroit. See map.
As downtown apartments become hot commodities, many landlords are going for the money and throwing out long-time tenants or harassing them into leaving.
The victims of this strategy are often people with few resources to start all over somewhere else.
If this is happening to you or to people you care about, now is the time to see what can be done about it!
Join protest to help Stephens family save their home
Wed. Oct. 29, 1 pm
At Wells Fargo office,
Grosse Pointe Woods
19770 Mack Ave. (map).
The Stephens family is fighting to keep the Detroit home that Mrs. Stephens, who is now 93 years old, bought with her husband in 1968. Find out more.
Thanks to all who came out Oct. 2 to protest Fannie Mae policies
The crowd marching in front of the library where Fannie Mae head Mel Watt spoke included union members from UAW-GM, Ford Local 600, Local 140, and other unions. Several carloads of Chicago activists from Centro Autonomo and the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign then arrived and spoke out inside the town hall. We also delivered a letter from Americans for Financial Reform, plus the list of Detroit organizations supporting principal reduction.
Cookout/rent party raised 2 months' rent on Sept. 27
Thanks so much to the over 60 people who came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to support Charmonique Hopkins and Detroit Eviction Defense.
We raised enough to keep the Hopkins family in their home for at least two months while we pursue our struggle against Ferndale Housing Commission. The food was plentiful and delicious, the conversation and camaraderie guaranteeing a good time for all. Again, thanks to everyone who came out, donated a dish, time and money.
Read her story.
|Backed by supporters, Ann Talley asks for the Mayor's support (top) & gives him a hug & a T-shirt after his positive response.|
families got 'a raw deal,' Mayor Duggan agreed
At Sept. 25 District 5 Detroit meeting
A group wearing new T-shirts showing their support for Gratoit -McDougall families got Mayor Duggan's attention in their crusade to stop the unjust eviction of 13 families.
Detroit gave taxpayer money to Peter Barclae, a failed developer from West Bloomfield, to build affordable homes in the Gratiot McDougall area. Barclae now refuses to honor his obligation to sell the homes to the families living there and paying towards their purchases.
The Mayor agreed they got a "raw deal" and says he'll do whatever is in his power to help them get justice.
Barclae ploys foiled in Court
In June, July & again on Sept. 5 &12
As the families fought back bogus motions to evict them so the developer can sell their homes to a Singapore Company, supporters were there to back them up.
On July 25, the 22 people who came out to support the families were noted by the Judge, who refused to let Barclae take the money homeowners are putting into escrow.
Thanks to all who picketed Bank of America:
Don't evict Acheampong family!
On August 29,
Downtown Detroit Guardian Building
After the protests the Bank withdrew its threat of eviction, but it still won't modify the mortage so the family can keep their home. Find out more.
We also got the Bank's attention by picketing a branch earlier in August.
More than a thousand told Detroit: "Turn on the Water!"
Officials announced temporary halt to shut-offs; find out more.
MORE INFO BITS:
The Armstrongs continue to protest misapplication of their tax payments.
The family has moved, but has not stopped fighting the unfair process that forced them from their home. The case is in the appeals stage.
The company that took advantage of an error in how their tax payments were applied has put their former home up for rent.
for Jerome Jackson
To help pay funeral costs & carry on the fight vs evictions that he fought to the end.
Send check made out to Metro Detroit AFL-CIO earmarked for Detroit Eviction Defense Jerome Fund to Miriam Pickens, 17601 George Washington, Southfield MI 48075.
|Some 40 people came to our October 11 speak-out to reveal tax-auction abuses & ways to organize against them.|
Wayne County's fall, 2014 auctions could be devastating
More than 9,000 families live in homes being auctioned for taxes
Many can't afford tax bills that stayed high as housing values plunged
More than 9,000 occupied homes went up for auction in September. One investor alone snapped up 103 properties, one out of ten sold. The County plans to sell the rest — including thousands of family homes — in October, when big investors are again big bidders. Next year, as many as 100,000 properties are slated to be auctioned to the highest bidder.
County Treasurer promotes auction as 'investment opportunity'
Auctions give an opportunity to “vulture” investors to profit off residents and homeowners hit by hardship and unjust tax assessments. But for people who are elderly, sick, laid-off or otherwise facing economic problems, the auction can mean the loss of both a family home and years put into that home.
Many of the investors who buy auctioned homes have a history of neglecting them, contributing to the blight that plagues Detroit and the county. Over the last four years thousands of families have lost their homes in the auctions, and the future will drive thousands more out of their houses, so long as this failed tax system is not addressed. Over ¼ of the property in Detroit is “subject to foreclosure,” say researchers.
They don't ease the core issues of unreasonable debt, red tape, needless restriction and hard times. The broken property tax system, failed job recovery, increased costs for those on fixed income, and a city bankruptcy that targets pensioners, all have or will continue to fuel this tax foreclosure and eviction explosion. Yet this year the County is showing less flexibility!
The last thing we need is more families evicted from their homes in Detroit and Wayne County. Many have nowhere to go. And we see the wreckage of past foreclosures all around us.
Step Forward stepped back
Although Step Forward Michigan, controlled by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), got $498 million in federal money to help families avoid both tax and mortgage foreclosures, they are denying applications for assistance by the thousands (only 30% are approved!), and have made themselves hard to reach. Just 22% of the millions earmarked for distressed homeowners had been spent by the last months of 2013.
At the October 11 "speakout" we sponsored, people told of abuses and how we can fight such abuses as the auctions continue. Flyer outlining some of the issues people raised.
|On Oct. 2, 150 protesters called for real eviction relief|
Fannie Mae head greeted with protest
150 march outside against foreclosures
Inside, we insist: Cut mortgage principal, stop evicting
FHFA Director Mel Watt, the man who oversees the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage companies taken over by the Feds, came to Detroit October 2 to promote a program to help some homeowners – but only those who’ve kept up with overpriced mortgages. Watt did give a hotline number to call – 1-888-995-hope – but had little else to offer the thousands of families Fannie and Freddie are aggressively foreclosing on – even though many were pushed into default through shady practices by banks and loan servicers.
Some 150 people joined a spirited morning protest outside the Detroit Public Library where Watt was about to speak. Inside the library, his carefully-scripted agenda was cut short by a real dialogue where the audience not only told some horror stories of Fannie Mae foreclosures, but also laid out specific proposals that could bring real relief to people facing foreclosure.
We pointed out that in Detroit, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac moved to evict more than 3,000 Detroit families from 2011 through April of 2013. Today 40 percent of homeowners owe more on mortgages than their houses are worth and nearly one in ten are behind on payments. We want bold new policies: To keep people in their homes by cutting loan principal on Fannie Mae /Freddie Mac mortgages; and to let foreclosed families and community non-profit groups buy back their homes at distressed market value.
Read Detroit News article on Watt & the protest & Bloomberg News-BusinessWeek article: "Principal-Reduction Calls Confront FHFA’s Watt as He Touts HARP."
Thanks to the people & groups who joined the protest.
List of Save Detroit—Save Our Homes! groups calling for real change. About the campaign.
|More than 60 people backed Hopkins' right to stay in this well-kept home & neighborhood by holding a Rent Party - See story on left.|
|Video tells Charmonique's story - she waited for an inspector who never came, & now the strong life she's built from tragedy is endangered.|
Stop racist discrimination vs. Detroiter
& her lovely neighborhood
Justice for Charmonique Hopkins
Detroiter Charmonique Hopkins was suddenly denied the rental voucher she and her four children need to stay in the home they've lived in for seven years. Why? In April the Ferndale Housing Commission, which administers the federal HUD housing voucher program, never showed up at her well-tended home for a routine inspection. Instead she was told she failed the inspection because an apartment building on the next block is boarded up. Come again?
That test smells like discrimination against Detroiters, who often serve as bulwarks against blight, in a city that so many others have abandoned. Find out more.
If that sounds wrong to you, call the Ferndale Housing Commission at 248-547-9500 and call HUD's Detroit office at 313-226-7900.
See strong letter from Hopkins' attorney Bob Day for inspiration & the full story.
Help Stephens family win 6-year battle
to save family home
Bank failed in first ploy to foreclose, but still won't talk
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens purchased the Detroit home where they raised their three daughters in 1968. Ms. Stephens is now 93 years old and has been trying for more than six years to save her home. When Mrs Stephens tried to get a loan modification on her mortgage, Wells Fargo agreed only if her daughter Denise Stephens assumed the mortgage. Denise assumed the mortgage, but the bank instead foreclosed. The Stephens family won that case through the Foreclosure Review process.
But Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia) Bank still refuses to modify their Home Equity Loan of $50,000 and won't negotiate, even though the family has put significant cash ($24,000) into the home’s escrow account. Wachovia is again trying to foreclose.
Call Wells Fargo (previous Wachovia Bank). Ask for Mitch McLaughlin 1-800-853-8516 x45036 (located at 19720 Chesterfield, Detroit, MI 48221). Insist that Wells Fargo negotiate a loan modification so the Stephens family can stay.
And join the demonstration at their home Wed. October 29! Details here, in left column.
|A protest of more than 50 people in June convinced Midas company to stop marketing the families' homes|
Mayor Duggan will try to help Gratiot McDougall families fight 'raw deal'
As developer tries to evict them from their homes
City Council, HUD director express concern, protests continue
On Sept 25, Atoinette Talley and her neighbors took another step closer to saving their homes in the Gratiot McDougall development on Detroit’s east side when Detroit's Mayor said he wants to help. Check it out.
Peter Barclae, the Oakland County developer who pledged to sell them their homes when they moved in, not only refuses to make good on that contract, but is also trying to evict them. But after he got a Singapore-based company, Midas, to start selling their homes, 40-plus people braved the pouring rain to protest at Midas' office in Pontiac.
Channel 2 & other media showed up as a group gave Midas evidence of Barclae's illegal bait-and-switch. Within hours, Midas had removed all the homes from its listings.
|The Detroit News & Metro Times did fine stories on our July 11 rally against Barclae.|
Barclae still claims the $40,000 - $70,000 he's collected from these homebuyers was only "rent" and they are “tenants.” The homeowners sued to stop this arrogant breach of contract, enforce their right to buy the homes, and save their neighborhood from the blight that will follow if they are evicted.
Supporters joined them at a June 20 hearing where the Judge was so surprised by Barclae's marketing of homes in dispute that she delayed the company's demand for escrow.
On July 29, we went to City Council to call for a city investigation of the Barclae's fraudulent actions and a resolution telling him to sell the homes to the families. His various attempts to evict immediately have failed in court.
|After this protest at the Federal Building, a group went up to HUD offices & presented our case to officials.|
We brought protests to HUD
Talk with Director could be fruitful
In a dozen cities across the nation on Sept. 9, we and other groups protested against HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) policies that cater to Wall Street hedge funds instead of Main Street families. A new report by the Center for Popular Democracy, "Vulture Capital Hits Home, How HUD is Helping Wall Street and Hurting Our Families," details how HUD sells FHA mortgages to hedge funds with no strings attached, instead of modifying loans to keep people in their homes.
When we went to the 17th floor to deliver the report and raise local problems, the director of the Detroit Field Office, Michael Polsinelli, came out to discuss key issues with us.
The hour-long discussion focused on how the Ferndale Housing Commission discriminates against Detroit with HUD voucher policies that could cost Charmonique Hopkins her home (see story below), and how local developer Peter Barclae is trying to evict 12 families from the Gratiot McDougall homes built with HUD monies (see story below).
While this opened the door to possible changes, homeowners will get justice only if we keep up the pressure on HUD, the Ferndale Housing Commission, Barclae, the city of Detroit, and the vulture capitalists that HUD allows to feast on struggling homeowners and tenants.
Eviction case dismissed!
|In her fight to save her home, Tsehaya Smith (r.) created this beautiful banner that Jerry Cullors helps hold up.|
Tsehaya Smith expects to buy back home she saved from blight
In court on August 7, Fannie Mae agreed to dismiss the eviction case against Ms. Smith. The federally-controlled mortgage company agreed not to evict while they hammer out a deal to sell her back her home.
Ms. Smith and her lawyer are bargaining hard for a reasonable selling price, and she's applied for a loan from United Community Housing Coalition.
Smith was threatened with eviction from her family home of 50 years just as the December holidays approached. With Eviction Defense help, she organized tirelessly and gradually won a fair chance to present her case. She had already paid Fannie Mae thousands of dollars, and put thousands more into repairing the home – in a neighborhood that desperately needs occupied homes. The fight caused her enormous stress and lost income, but thanks to our solidarity and Tsehaya's strong stance, Fanny Mae's terms came down to earth.
|25 people marched to Bank of America branch on August 2 & then picketed the downtown bank Aug. 29 to support the Acheampong family.|
Andrews Acheampong gets help to
save his family's home
Our campaign helped convince Bank of America to halt its threat to evict Andrews Acheampong, his wife and two children from his home of 25 years. But the bank still won't grant the loan modification it told him he could get -- even after he made the required payments.
When Andrews had started getting fewer and fewer hours of work at his job as a truck driver, even as the mortgage payments kept going up, he reached out to the Bank for a loan modification and in 2009 got a trial modification that cut his monthly payments from $1,261 to $997. The Bank promised that if he made three payments he'd get a permanent loan modification.
But after Andrews made 5 payments, Bank of America refused to accept any more. We need to keep up the pressure, so he won't again face eviction.
|Now: 2014 Before foreclosure: 2009
Typical Fannie Mae wreckage: it foreclosed on this home after refusing to modify a $34,000 mortgage. Then it sold the house to an investor for $2,400. Unpaid property taxes: $6,800
New head of Fannie Mae makes cautious steps toward change
But Detroit "Stabilization Initiative"
doesn't stop foreclosures
Mel Watt, the new director President Obama put in charge of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants, has been meeting with some of the groups that urge for new policies to let people save their homes. Fannie and Freddie's refusal to modify mortgages had driven thousands of Detroit families from their homes; Mel Watt suspended eviction actions against the Hernandez and other families as negotiations continued.
Watt promised a Detroit “Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative” (NSI) in May, and the first stage could make a small concession to our campaign to "Save Detroit—Save Our Homes” with a very limited program of buybacks for homeowners who have gone through mortgage foreclosure.
Mel Watt was in Detroit Thurs., October 2, to promote his approach. Find out more.
Help Gail Herhold & her toddler keep their home
Fannie Mae and Green Tree Servicing are trying to throw Gail Herhold and her three-year old son Izaya out of the home she's lived in for 15 years. Gail is willing and able to pay what she owes on the mortgage, but because she was late with three payments in 2012, Green Tree has been relentlessly trying to evict her and little Izaya ever since.
Green Tree had refused to accept her third late payment and suddenly, in January, 2013, Gail found out her house was being sold at a sheriff’s sale. She wants to pay what's needed to save her home, but Green Tree and Fannie Mae, which now owns the mortgage, refuse to work with Gail. After years of trying to cope on her own, she needs support. See video.
Hernandez family fights off eviction
First eviction order expired, new eviction order delayed, talks underway
|In a video by Excellent Schools Detroit, the Hernandez sisters talked about what their home means to them and how the threat of eviction weighs on them. See video.
|In September & again in November, crowds of 50+ rallied in support of the family.
The Hernandez family – Ludim and Gabriela and their three daughters Kriscia, Yelinne, and Litzy – are determined to stay in the Southwest Detroit home where they've lived for over a decade.
Last fall an outpouring of people rallied for the family, to stop the unfair eviction ordered for September. We marched, organized in the neighborhood (including a Halloween party), and camped out in a non-stop vigil at the home until the eviction order expired two months later.
Hit with job layoffs in 2012, the family had fallen behind on their mortgage payments, and their home was foreclosed on and sold at sheriff sale to the giant mortgage company now run by the federal government, Fannie Mae.
All-day vigils helped stave off eviction
We are urging Fannie Mae to accept a reasonable offer to help the family regain their home. Fannie Mae had asked for a Feb. 20 court hearing to get a new eviction order, but as we got ready to contest it, Fannie Mae's new director agreed to talk.
Mortgage impostor stole their savings
When they tried to buy back their home during the foreclosure process, the family got fleeced out of their life savings of $15,000 by Kenneth Sandoval, a wealthy Northville man who presented himself as a mortgage representative. But after we twice visited his home, alerted neighbors, and complained to the Attorney General, Sandoval had to leave his luxury home and was imprisoned.
Still no settlement - keep up the pressure!
Join city-wide campaign:
Save Detroit—Save Our Homes!
80 groups call for end to destructive federal bank policy
Homeowners visited the offices of Senator Stabenow & Congressmen Conyers and Peters as part of a nationwide push for changes in policy.
A city-wide campaign is brewing to stop the surge of foreclosures and evictions that devastate communities. A coalition of neighborhood associations, unions, churches and social justice groups is aiming to reverse the Federal policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that drive thousands of Detroit families from their homes. List of endorsers.
Download the flyer that describes the campaign and urge your union, church or group to join the list of endorsers.
Federal government must act to:
1) Stop Foreclosures and Evictions from Owner-Occupied Homes;
2) Reduce Mortgage Principal on Underwater Homes; and
3) Sell Repossessed Homes to Owner Occupants at Market Value.
A Hurricane Without Water
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac feed the foreclosure crisis
These two federal agencies are now responsible for more than 70% of the foreclosures and evictions in this country!Easy-to-read new report demystifies the complex world of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and shows how they wreck havoc on our homes and our neighborhoods.
Features pictures, charts and plain language, and shows how we can work together to fight their destructive practices.
What to do about tax foreclosure
If you or someone you know is in danger of tax foreclosure, please act now.
- Help us organize to stop all tax foreclosures of owner-occupied homes. Across the country people have been saving their homes by working together. We meet every Thursday – see details in left column.
- At Speak out! on October 11, people discussed ways to organize for future tax auctions. Find out more.
- Visit United Community Housing Coalition at 22 Bagley, Suite 224, Detroit Mon., Tues. or Wed. morning. Web site.
To save our homes & communities we want:
1). Moratorium on tax evictions and foreclosures of owner-occupied homes; immediately cut property tax assessments to reflect “fair” market value; assessments should be cut retroactively and across the board for homeowners!
2). Stop “reversion” (rapid seizure without the normal process) of owner-occupants homes, due to failure to pay property taxes the year they bought the home; give them a reasonable payment plan.
3). The county and city should develop affordable back tax payment plans, cut its bureaucracy, correct errors promptly, provide “due process”, allow year-round tax reassessment, reduce penalties, stop addition of water bills and give preference to home owners and renters willing to stay in the city.
4). Streamline and ease restrictions on Step Forward Michigan, to get the money to distressed homeowners! Communities should control distribution of Hardest Hit Funds (like Step Forward) to be sure it gets to the people who need it! Don’t divert funds meant for homeowners to demolish homes, this is how to prevent spreading blight!
5). Take legal action to make banks, mortgage companies and Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or HUD stop dumping properties on the cities and county -- and to recover the taxes and demolition costs they refused to pay.
47 Paramount homeowners get
deeds to their homes!
Mass eviction halted after we pressured court & Pension Board
|Homeowners & backers filled courtroom.|
Victims of fraud still need relief from taxes Paramount didn't pay.
A courageous and warm man who fought to the death
for dignity & against unjust eviction
|Jackson (center) rallying vs. eviction of Hernandez family|
Jerome Jackson was a hero in the fight against unjust evictions – not only for himself but for all families defending their homes. He was always there for Detroit Eviction Defense, which he said was "family."
Jerome spent years fighting to keep the house he had made his own. Wayne County and Community Living Services tore up their agreements to support mortgage payments under a program they talked him into in 2004. Then Fannie Mae relentlessly moved to evict. The battle took a terrible toll on Jerome, but even as his health failed, he fended off eviction.
|In Feb. we marched into the office building of Wayne County Executive Ficano insisting that he stop the eviction of Jackson, who then spoke about his dream.|
We will always be inspired by his strength and leadership.
Memorial fund to help pay funeral costs & carry on Jerome's work
Send check made out to Metro Detroit AFL-CIO earmarked for Detroit Eviction Defense Jerome Fund to Miriam Pickens, 17601 George Washington, Southfield MI 48075.
Thanks to all who took up his fight.
See & download Eviction Defense tribute to Jerome Jackson
How even a phone call will make a big difference