We meet every Thursday following that, 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.
Come to Lela Whitfield hearing Fri.,July 18
10:30 am at 36th District Courtroom of Judge Garrett, 4th floor. 421 Madison St, Detroit.
New! See map & parking.
When the federal agency Fannie Mae showed up in court June 6 trying to evict Lela Whitfield without the proper documents, Judge Ruth Ann Garrett sent its lawyer packing, saying that powerful institutions are not privileged to bypass the law.
The Judge noted the activists who were supporting Whitfield. That support could be crucial.
Lela has lived in her Detroit home since she was a child. The home belonged to her mother, who took out a reverse mortgage in 2005. Now Lela faces eviction by Fannie Mae, the government-owned agency that turns a deaf ear to her offers to buy her home.
|Photo by Valerie Jean|
Rally to "Turn on the Water!"
Friday, July 18
Meet outside Cobo Hall
Washington Blvd. &
W. Congress St. Map
Rally at Hart Plaza
The national NetRoots Convention at Cobo Hall will break for lunch to march and rally through downtown Detroit to demand no to water shutoffs, no privatization of Detroit & no to pension cuts. Let's join them!
Registered Nurses will declare a public health emergency & demand a
moratorium on the dangerous water shutoffs in Detroit.
Protesters will also target foreclosures, Wall Street speculators, the Emergency Manager takeover & other corporate & bank actions hurting Detroiters.
MORE INFO BITS:
|The Ferndale Housing Commission panicked & called the police on June 18 when two dozen people peacefully protested its treatment of Charmonique Hopkins.|
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.
Abused renters turn to Eviction Defense for organizing help
As downtown apartments become hot commodities, many landlords are going for the money and throwing out long-time tenants or harassing them into leaving.
If this is happening to you, come to our next Thursday meeting for support and advice.
Teachers & staff at Cesar Chavez Academy won a union contract!
When they first unionized, the management of this Detroit charter school hired a union-busting attorney to fire popular staff & stall bargaining.
Even as they were fighting for their professional life and students, Cesar Chavez staff joined our vigil to save the Hernandez family from eviction.
Thanks to their courage and organizing, the academy had to rehire fired staff with back pay & sign a good contract.
|After we visited the luxury home of a mortgage scammer who cheated the Hernandez family, he moved out & was arrested. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison.|
A Dream Foreclosed:
Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home
"Dr. King would be appalled that today thousands of people are affected by the banks’ mortgage and foreclosure crisis," writes Eviction Defense activist Jerry Cullors in a review of this book for Labor Notes.
Among the four families the book focuses on -- "giving an inside view of each family’s challenges with banks and bank servicing agents" -- are the Garretts, who "found courage and support from Detroit Eviction Defense." Read the review.
Protests hit developer
trying to rob homes
from Gratiot-McDougall families
Group gets Midas company to stop selling homes they don't own;
Detroit rally targets deceptive Oakland County developer
On June 24, Atoinette Talley and her neighbors got one step closer to saving their homes in the Gratiot McDougall development on Detroit’s east side.
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. When we found out he convinced 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 did a great story & video on our July 11 rally at Barclae parking lot.|
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. The Judge was so surprised by Barclae's marketing of homes in dispute that she delayed the company's demand for escrow.
|On July 11, 10 clergy & other protesters were arrested as they sat down to keep trucks from shutting off more families.|
endanger Detroit families
Thousands of Detroit families are being hit with dangerous, illegal water shutoffs demanded by the Emergency Manager and his financial allies. He's using public tax money to hire a private company to do the dirty work, & moving one step closer to turning over the public's water department to private interests. It's a cruel way to drive more families from the city. In some cases children were taken from families who lost their water service.
If the EM instead recovered the $500 million in fraudulent interest-rate swaps the banks engineered, the city would have plenty of money to make needed water main repairs and improvements without stripping families of a basic human need. The city has also ignored the millions in unpaid water bills owed by golf courses, Ford Field, and other powerful scofflaws.
Detroiters have been protesting on Fridays, setting up a water station and canvassing neighborhoods. On Friday, July 18 we will be joined by Netroots conference-goers from around the nation -- See details to the left.
Justice for Charmonique Hopkins
Detroiter Charmonique Hopkins was suddenly denied the rental voucher she and her family 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.
R.I.P. Jerome Jackson
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 brave hero in the fight against unjust evictions – not only for himself but for all families taking a stand to defend their homes. He was always there for Detroit Eviction Defense, which he said was "family."
Jerome spent years fighting for the right to keep the house he had worked hard to make his own home – while Wayne County and Community Living Services tore up their agreements with him and Fannie Mae relentlessly moved to evict. The battle took a terrible toll on Jerome, but he refused to accept injustice, even as his health failed. He fought to the end. More on his battle vs eviction.
We will always be inspired by his strength and leadership. And while he did stave off eviction, we are outraged that he could never enjoy the peace in his own home that he so richly deserved.
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 for your support.
See & download Eviction Defense tribute to Jerome Jackson
Tsehaya Smith fights for family home
Smith was threatened with eviction from her family home of 50 years before the holidays, but with Eviction Defense help, she won time to present her case.
Fannie Mae, which has been pursuing the eviction, responded to our pressure and is now in talks, but its terms are still out of reach. Smith continues to organize support to save her home in a neighborhood that desperately needs occupied homes. Activists, friends & family are making calls to help her. Find out more, give her a hand!
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
|Now: 2014 Before foreclosure: 2009|
Typical Fannie Mae wreakage: 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 gets
call for basic change
To save families & neighborhoods
Mel Watt, the new director President Obama put in charge of the FHFA agency that oversees the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants, has been meeting with the UAW and other representatives from groups urging for new policies to let people save their homes. Fannie and Freddie's refusal to modify mortgages has driven thousands of Detroit families from their homes. Mel Watt suspended eviction actions against the Hernandez and other families as negotiations continue.
After the UAW presented our program to “Save Detroit— Save Our Homes,” and groups like the NAACP and Home Defenders League also called for basic change, Watt agreed that Detroit needs urgent attention and promised new policies. We & allied groups are stressing the urgent need for principal reduction on “underwater” mortgages that are inflated way beyond the homes' real values. We want foreclosures and evictions suspended while homeowners seek modifications or buybacks of their homes.
Fall auctions loom...
Tax foreclosures of owner-occupied homes threaten families, neighbors
Don’t let this happen to you – and yours
|Lawyer Bob Day speaks to 25 people worried about foreclosure at our free legal & organizing clinic March 15.|
Wayne County is preparing to foreclose on close to 50,000 properties that are behind on their taxes. Many are owner-occupied, and the last thing we need is more families evicted from their homes in Detroit and Wayne County. We see the wreckage of past foreclosures all around us.
Many homes now at risk have been over-assessed for years at amounts way above their actual values. Many are owned by families who are suffering illnesses, job loss and other temporary hardships. If they get thrown on the street they could have nowhere to go and whole neighborhoods will suffer, as homes are trashed by vandals and/or bought up by speculators.
Some families, including those victimized by the defunct Paramount company’s scam, might have their homes seized because the former owners/sellers of the homes failed to record their interests and/or failed to pay the back taxes owed before the families moved in.
Step Forward steps 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, and often don’t even answer the phone. Just 22% of the millions earmarked for distressed homeowners had been spent by the last months of 2013.
The clock is ticking - but often something can be worked out
By March 31, families threatened with foreclosure were supposed to pay off all the taxes and penalties owed through 2011, or have worked out a plan with the county. But even now, it's possible to save a home from being auctioned off in September and October.
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!
Talks haven't produced a settlement yet, and we remain vigilant. Meanwhile, we thank Eviction Defense supporters, the UAW, other unionists and neighbors, for helping the family get its first break. And we appreciate the Hernandez family's refusal to bend to injustice.
Join city-wide campaign:
Save Detroit—Save Our Homes!
80 groups join in call to end 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. President Obama’s appointment of a new director for Fannie/Freddie has opened the door to a dialogue with the coalition on saving homes and revamping policy.
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.
Download the report here . (It's 5.2M, so give it time!)
What to do about tax foreclosure
If you or someone you know is in danger of tax foreclosure, please act now.
- Come to an organizing meeting – Across the country people have been saving their homes by working together. If You are willing to fight back and stand together with others, join us! We meet every Thursday – see details in left column. Come at least 15 minutes early to discuss your foreclosure problem.
- Help us organize to stop all tax foreclosures of owner-occupied homes.
- If you missed our free tax clinic, visit United Community Housing Coalition at 22 Bagley, Suite 224, Detroit 48226, even if you can't reach them by phone (313-963-3310). Web site.
To save our homes and communities:
1). Moratorium on tax evictions and foreclosures of owner-occupied homes; immediately cut property tax assessments to reflect “fair” market value; Not only should assessments be eased going forward, but tax 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;
3). Streamline and ease restrictions on Step Forward Michigan, to get the money to distressed homeowners! Don't spend money that was supposed to help homeowners to instead demolish properties owned and neglected by banks, mortgage companies, or Fannie Mae; these entities should pay!
4). Expand door to door efforts to inform people who live in foreclosed properties of all possible programs to aid in tax and mortgage delinquency;
5). Take legal action to make banks, mortgage companies and Fannie Mae stop dumping properties on the cities and county -- and to recover the taxes and other 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.
|On Feb. 19, 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.|
Jerome Jackson purchased his home in Inkster in 2004, as part of a nationwide Fannie Mae program targeting people with disabilities for loans that turned out to be predatory. A key part of the deal was that Wayne County and Community Living Services would subsidize the mortgage.
Jackson did his part, paying his portion of the mortgage each month. And he made his entire home wheelchair accessible. But the County and CLS stopped paying their share, and Fannie Mae moved in to evict.
Thanks to all who pressured Wayne County and CLS. They were just beginning to show cracks in their armor of indifference...
How even a phone call will make a big difference