To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#rebecca
Rebecca F. wins home she saved from destruction
British owner stops trying to evict & gives up house he'd left empty & dangerous
After we helped Rebecca put pressure on English developer Peter Kirby and his management company, Kirby gave up tryng to evict her, and is walking away from the property on Collingwood in Detroit that Rebecca had moved her family into. Since Kirby didn't pay his taxes, she will likely have to fight tax foreclosure next fall. But for now, Rebecca and her four small children and teenager have a home for the winter.
When Rebecca, a survivor of domestic violence, rented this Detroit house through an ad in Craiglist, thieves and addicts had trashed it and it was left wide open. The landlord who took her deposit disappeared but Rebecca's managed to turn the abandoned house into a warm home.
|Rebecca told her story & rallied supporters at the Block-ade Party at her home on Dec. 9|
Although Kirby had left the home vacant and neglected since 2010, his local representative, Michigan Management, had tried to evict Rebecca.
After she won support from neighbors in her block club and ten minutes before our planned picket of Michigan Management, they gave up their ploy to evict and said that Kirby will walk away and let the property go into tax foreclosure.
By turning this dangerous eyesore into a home, Rebecca took a courageous stand against one of the many predatory investors who run roughshod over Detroit's neighborhoods as they try to make a quick buck in a city they neither understand nor respect. As Rebecca explained to neighbors, she "removed a serious source of danger for neighbors and local residents."
Now she has already started to organize against the wave of unfair tax foreclosures sweeping the city that could again threaten her family as well.
We insist that "Homes are for People, Not Predators."
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#dexterhearing
At last minute in Nov., Freddie Mac agreed to postponement & talks
Viewing a powerful video by Detroit Eviction Defense might have shamed this federally-owned mortgage company into halting its senseless drive to evict in November. Dexter just wants to pay her mortgage, after a hacked checking account caused some payments to be missed. But a new hearing has been set for December 15, and we must be there to support her.
Lorraine is not alone! Read about her courageous stand against injustice.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#gra-mc
Fundraiser/ Harvest Party for Gratiot McDougall families was packed!
Nov. 22 event helps 12 families fight eviction
The Gratiot McDougall families are grateful for the outpouring of solidarity and needed cash to help save their homes. Supporters are inspired by their courage in standing up to a West Bloomfield developer who deceived them. He is now trying to evict them & sell their homes to distant investors. This is a defining battle for all Detroiters struggling against predatory investors. Find out who they are, read their story.
Please come to court Jan. 20 to support them in latest eviction attempt!
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#boudreaux
Why is Freddie Mac trying to evict
She has the financing to buy her home!
Lisa Boudreaux is determined to keep the Detroit home where she grew up. Her Dad took out a $100,000 loan as housing values soared in 2006, and tried to get the loan modified before he died, after values had crashed. When he passed away the home went to Lisa, who had lived there 43 years. She turned to the Federal-State Step Forward program for aid, but as in most cases, the agency failed in its mandate to help.
Meanwhile, the home was taken over by Freddie Mac. Lisa made an offer in October, but Freddie Mac never replied and instead filed to evict her. The judge gave her 30 days.
Lisa Boudreaux now has a lawyer and lined up an investor to buy back her home and let her stay on a land contract. But Freddie Mac refuses to consider her offer -- defying its new national policy that it will sell homes it owns at market value . There's no way Lisa could buy the home without financing. Please support Lisa's right to get back her home in court Jan. 7.
Call Freddie Mac at 1-800-424-5401 to demand that they accept the offer from Lisa's investor to purchase the property at 13589 Winthrop, Detroit at market value and avoid another empty property and needless eviction.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#tenants11-14
Tenants plan mutual support
At second city-wide meeting Nov. 22
Tenants Defense held its second meeting on Saturday, November 22. About 50 people attended. We discussed the spread of gentrification and the resulting displacement. This is not just limited to Detroit, but is happening all over the country and in other parts of the world. The media does not report our situations or our stories. It was suggested that we need our own newsletter.
Another suggestion was for a telephone tree so that we can call each other for support. No one should have to face a slumlord or an eviction threat alone. We want to organize units in each building and in different areas of the city.
There is a war on the elderly and the poor. One of our goals is that people not be forced out of their homes. We will meet next on Saturday, December 20 at 3 pm at the International Institute, 111 E. Kirby, Detroit.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#whitfield
Lela Whitfield gets jury trial, but...
Fannie Mae lawyers get more big bucks to keep trying to evict her
When Lela Whitfield went back to 36th District Court Oct. 24 - - yet again – to resist Fannie Mae’s drive to evict her from her family home, the judge agreed that Fannie Mae had made mistakes and that the foreclosure of Lela’s home was illegal. But after hours of eviction hearings that began in May, Lela still can't buy back her home, She now must fight in a jury trial, scheduled for January 20.
Thousands of $$, days of court time -- all to destroy a $7000 home -Find out more, Act Now!
|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.|
|Twice last fall, crowds of 50+ rallied in support of the family.|
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#hernandez
Hernandez family win back money stolen by mortgage impostor
Family fought eviction for over a year, now in talks to buy back home
The Hernandez family – Ludim and Gabriela, their three daughters Kriscia, Yelinne, and Litzy – have refused to be evicted from-the Southwest Detroit home where they've lived for over a decade.
All-day vigils helped stave off eviction
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.
Mortgage impostor stole their savings, got jailed
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 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. The stolen amount was returned to the family, and they are trying to buy back their home.
Help us urge Fannie Mae to accept a reasonable offer so they'll finally regain their home.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#ferndale
|Deb Wilson is no longer Ferndale Housing Director, but abuses of tenant rights continue. WXYZ report|
Ferndale Housing honchos
hide behind closed doors
To avoid protest & our call for justice
Even after Ferndale Housing Commission's Director was arrested for breaking into tenants' apartments and stealing prescription drugs, the Commission refuses to back off its anti-tenant, anti-Detroit policies. It still insists Charmonique Hopkins and many other voucher holders in Detroit must move out of their good homes and neighborhoods in Detroit. Read what they're trying to do Charmonique Hopkins.
When some 30 tenants and supporters showed up at the Ferndale Commission's meeting and insisted that calls for justice be heard, the Commission slammed the door on us and escaped into Executive Session. We have applied to be on the agenda for their next meeting on Dec. 17. Details on left. Join us!
Homeowners fight eviction
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#fanniepr
Feds tell Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac to sell families their homes back at real value!
|See video of Senator Warren blasting Mel Watt for his inaction even after millions of families lost their homes.|
Families now in foreclosure should finally get chance to buy back their homes
With little fanfare, the government finally announced a new policy that should give thousands of families who lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis a chance to buy their homes back at their real market value. See news release. People who bought homes before housing prices crashed (often victimized by proven bank fraud) have been stuck with mortgages worth many times what their homes would sell for today.
As millions of folks who got behind on the inflated payments are foreclosed on, the banks dump their debts onto the federally-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which now control nearly two out of three of the nation's mortgages. Yet for years Fannie and Freddie have stubbornly refused to adjust inflated mortgage values so families could save their homes. It instead spends millions to evict them and then either leaves their homes to be trashed by strippers or sells them at huge discounts to new buyers.
The wounds of that policy are scarring communities across the nation. Eviction Defense and other groups have vigorously called for change – See how we greeted Fannie/Freddy's director Mel Watt when he came to Detroit. Senator Elizabeth Warren also blasted him for his inaction.
Now that change has finally been announced, the key is to make sure people know their new rights , insist on them in courtrooms across the nation, and press for future principle reduction.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#stephens
Bank delays action on Stephens family again - to Dec. 19
Wells Fargo says it needs more time than it expected to decide whether to take the family's home. Now is the time to urge the bank to do the right thing!
Our Oct. 29 picket helped convince Wells Fargo to talk
We delivered a letter to bank officials during a mid-day protest in front of the bank. 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.
Lorraine Dexter vows to fight eviction:
'I'm the last one standing & I refuse to go easily.'
Lorraine's sister had taken out the mortgage at the peak of the housing bubble, and after that sister died in 2010, Lorraine tried to transfer the mortgage to her name. She also applied for a modification with Chase, but instead got a big run-around.
She got them the money, they sold her house anyhow
When she realized that the checks had bounced, Dexter worked frantically to get to the bank's Loss Mitigation team and halt the sale. She got all the documents to Freddie Mac’s law firm, Trott and Trott, including “proof of ability to pay”and a cashier’s check that more than covered what she owed, just before the sale date.
But Freddie Mac's lawyers went ahead with the Sheriff’s sale the next day. Ms. Dexter then tried to buy back the home at market value, without success, and at one point landed in the hospital for stress-related illness. She's now suing Freddie Mac and Chase Bank in federal court for their negligence and deceit. See her tell her story in this video.
Despite the shadiness of the Sheriff’s sale, Freddie Mac won a court order on Nov. 5 to immediately seize the home and put Ms. Dexter on the street. She returned to court two days later with a lawyer and won a motion for reconsideration – because she's now considered a tenant. After having seen her neighbors evicted from every other home on her block, Lorraine Dexter is determined to draw the line. And we want to stand with her. Stay tuned.
Despite the shadiness of the Sheriff’s sale, Freddie Mac won a court order on Nov. 5 to immediately seize the home and put Ms. Dexter on the street. She returned to court two days later with a lawyer and won a motion for reconsideration – because she's now considered a tenant.
After having seen her neighbors evicted from every other home on her block, Lorraine Dexter is determined to draw the line. And we want to stand with her. Stay tuned.
Tax auction & foreclosure news
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#auctions
Wayne County's fall, 2014 auctions were devastating
37,000 homes slated for 2015 tax auction may be occupied
Thousands can't afford tax bills that stayed high as housing values plunged
|Some 40 people came to Oct. 11 speak-out on tax-auction abuses & ways to organize.|
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.
A neighborhood-based movement can demand real changes.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#savedetroit
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 change.
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.
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 report demystifies the complex world of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and shows how they wreck havoc on our homes and our neighborhoods. Shows how we can fight their destructive practices.
Tenants organize for rights
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#charmonique
|Video tells Charmonique's story - she waited for an inspector who never came, & now the strong life she's built from tragedy is endangered.|
Justice for Charmonique Hopkins
Stop racist discrimination vs. Detroiter & her lovely neighborhood
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. Please also call HUD's Detroit office at 313-226-7900 to thank Director Polsennelli for his concern & ask them to continue pressing the Ferndale Commission to evaluate Detroit homes fairly.
See strong letter from Hopkins' attorney Bob Day for inspiration & the full story.
First Tenants Defense meeting drew 50 people
Outrage at property neglect, forcing out tenants
About 50 people came out for the Tenants Defense meeting on October 25 at the International Institute in Detroit.
Young and old, black, white, Latin, Middle Eastern, all were concerned about the effects of gentrification (forcing out low-income residents so richer folks can get the property) and other displacement now happening in Detroit.
They are being pushed out, and feel it! Wealthy property owners like Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert, want them out so they can raise rents, let subsidies elapse and cater to younger and whiter renters with more money.
Owners are letting properties go into disrepair and neglect. They don’t clean up trash and flagrantly disregard the law as well as common human decency. Some refuse to accept checks or money orders, insisting on cash only. They prevent visitors from entering the building and act like, as one woman said, “its theirs and they can do what they want.”
We are here to say, no, they can’t. Rules apply to owners too. We plan to organize building by building, supporting each other as we demand rightful living conditions. One demand to come out of the meeting is Renewal of Senior Housing Agreements, because that 25-year HUD program from the 1990's is now due to come to an end.
We are planning for action in meetings every Thursday at 5 p.m., before the regular 6 p.m. Detroit Eviction Defense meeting at 2120 Russell. We're also planning another meeting for mid-November, time and place to be announced.