Photo by Mark R. Brown.
40 residents and community supporters from the Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone marched on Wells Fargo with boards used to illegally board up an occupied home as part of the “Homes for All” national day of action, hours after bank lobbyists killed the Homeowner Bill of Rights in the state Capitol.
Community supporters marched the boards and 7,000 petition signatures on behalf of Jessica English, a homeless single mother who has recently reclaimed an abandoned Wells Fargo home, to demand they call off their illegal eviction attempts and negotiate with Jessica to turn the home over to the community. Jessica has come home from work twice over the past two weeks to find that Wells Fargo had boarded up her home while she was gone--which is illegal without a court order under Minnesota law.
Jaymie Kelly, Jessica’s neighbor who is facing foreclosure after 30 years of homeownership, also demanded a negotiation from her bank today. She and her supporters took over J.P. Morgan Chase Homeownership Center in Edina for two hours to demand they rewrite her predatory loan. Chase officials agreed to meet with her and told her they would have an answer tomorrow about whether they can write her a new loan.
Meanwhile, at the Capitol, banker-turned-Senator Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, refused to allow the Homeowner Bill of Rights to be heard in the commerce committee because the bank lobbyists hadn’t agreed to it, effectively killing the bill. The commerce committee instead advanced a different foreclosure bill Wednesday night, S.F. 1276, that would merely codify existing foreclosure laws.
Photo by Chris Juhn.
“There is no excuse for refusing to even hear a modest bill that could stop thousands of Minnesota foreclosures just because the banks it seeks to regulate haven’t signed off on it,” said Nick Espinosa, whose family narrowly avoided foreclosure this year. “It’s clear that Wall Street has corrupted our democracy, but we’re not going to stop fighting in our neighborhoods and on the streets until every family is guaranteed safe and equitable housing.”
Minneapolis was one of ten cities across the country participating in actions March 13 launching Right to the City's Homes for All Campaign demanding affordable and community controlled housing throughout the country. Homes for All calls for direct community intervention and a strong government role to reclaim, remain in, and rebuild cities through community control instead of allowing big banks and developers to gamble away their homes.
Please make these urgent calls to help keep me in my home:
Please Call Michael J. Heid, President, Home Mortgage division of Wells Fargo at (515)213-6117 or email him at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org to tell them to turn 3325 2nd Ave S over to the community to be used for affordable housing instead of letting it sit vacant creating blight in the neighborhood.
Call or email Mayor Rybak, (email@example.com) 612 673-2100, ask him to prioritize the homeless over the big banks, and not to evict Jessica English from 3325 2nd Ave S.
Call Police Chief Hartau, (612) 673-3559, ask her not to use our public servants, paid for by our tax dollars, to evict Jessica English from 3325 2nd Ave S.
Last month I moved into a vacant house owned by Wells Fargo in South Minneapolis. I wanted to put a roof over my children’s heads, but I also wanted to take a stand for the every American’s right to have safe and equitable housing. Our community wants to reclaim the house to provide affordable housing instead of letting it rot.
But Wells Fargo has sent employees to break into the house to change the locks three times and now they’re pressuring the police to illegally evict me.
Just yesterday, three police officers attempted to carry out an illegal eviction of my home--telling the four volunteers occupying it while I was at work that they had to leave. Our supporters turned the police away asserting that without permission from a judge they would be carrying out an illegal eviction. They did not have a warrant to enter the home. Thanks to your support, we have halted the eviction for now--but they could come back at any time to evict my family from the home our community has reclaimed.
Please call the President of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage directly to demand they halt any attempts to evict my family and negotiate to turn this formerly blighted vacant property over to the community. (Number above)
Last month I came home to find a strange man who worked for Wells Fargo inside my house who claimed he thought it was vacant and left when I assured him it was not. Though they know that I live there, they’ve broken in and locked my possessions inside the home two more times since then claiming the home is abandoned. It’s terrifying.
Can you make a few quick calls to help put a stop to these illegal eviction attempts and harassment of my family?
These intimidation tactics are against the law, and represent repeated flagrant violations of due process. Only a judge can authorize an eviction of a resident of a home, yet Wells Fargo, aided by officials from the City of Minneapolis, is attempting to force me out.
Wells Fargo has assured me that I will be evicted and arrested for trespassing, but the real crime is leaving all these homes vacant while families seek shelter. It makes no sense that the city and local law enforcement would spend public resources to evict a home that has been restored from blight by neighbors to keep a family warm this winter just because Wall Street Banks ask them to. I’m not leaving.
Thank you for standing with me. We won’t be intimidated. We won’t be moved.
PS If you’re able to contribute financially to support the urgent efforts to defend my home, please do. http://www.occupyhomesmn.org/contribute
Flanked by 60 supporters, retired postal worker and South Minneapolis homeowner Jaymie Kelly marched to the downtown executive office of JP Morgan Chase, demanding Chase renegotiate the mortgage on the house she’s lived in for 30 years. Jaymie was stopped by security, and JP Morgan executives refused to come down to meet with her. Supporters echoed her demand and promised to return until they got a face to face meeting. Kelly said, “I want someone to negotiate with me. Calling customer service does nothing." Instead of calling up to the office, the security phoned the police.
Her lender, JP Morgan Chase is demanding $255,000. Last year alone, Chase netted over $21 billion in profits and remains one of the largest multi-national banking institutions in the world. Jaymie estimates she has paid $450,000 for the house since purchasing it in 1982, and merely demands principal reduction and an affordable mortgage. In its sheriff sale last November, Chase purchased the mortgage at the house’s current market value of $81,000. “I want the same deal Chase gave to themselves,” Jaymie says.
Jaymie is a resident in the Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone and one of the 6 underwater homeowners facing eviction who are refusing to move from the community. She was born on the other side of the block and has lived her entire life on 38th street. Only after her husband passed away and Jaymie fell victim to a predatory loan did she struggle to make payments. With the help of her postal union, neighbors, and supporters of the Foreclosure Free Zone, Jaymie plans to keep pressure on Chase to sit down with her. “I can’t just pack up and leave,” said Jaymie. “This is my community, always has been, and I will not be moved.”