Caylin Crawford, a researcher at the University of Minnesota fighting foreclosure with Occupy Homes MN, has received an unprecedented settlement offer from Freddie Mac that will keep her in her home.
The settlement represents a major break from Freddie Mac’s policy against selling houses back to homeowners or family members.
“I’m ecstatic that I get to stay in the home my family has put so much effort into,” said Caylin. “By building a community of support, we’ve made the impossible possible.”
When Caylin was injured in a snowboarding accident in 2011, she couldn’t work or go to school for three months. She called US Bank to inquire about a possible loan modification to help get her through this tough time. US Bank’s mortgage specialist told her that they couldn’t modify her loan unless she was in default, and advised her to stop paying.
As soon as Caylin was in default, she applied for a loan modification. But instead of reviewing her for the modification, US Bank and Freddie Mac began foreclosure proceedings.
“If I had known they weren’t going to modify my loan, I would have kept paying,” said Caylin.
Caylin filed a lawsuit over fraudulent foreclosure proceedings the day before her eviction hearing. Meanwhile she began working with Occupy Homes MN. She organized her co-workers, neighbors, and motorcycle club to support her campaign. After a well-attended barbecue at her house and three public speaking appearances in one week, Freddie Mac contacted Caylin’s lawyer and offered to settle the lawsuit.
“I got farther in one month with Occupy Homes MN than I did in almost two years in the legal system,” Caylin said.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which own 59% of U.S. mortgages, have consistently been unyielding in negotiations with homeowners. Caylin has joined a national “Dump DeMarco” campaign pressuring the Obama administration to fire Ed DeMarco, the federal administrator who oversees Fannie and Freddie. In March she was among five people arrested in an act of civil disobedience interrupting DeMarco’s Congressional testimony in Washington, D.C. DeMarco has been identified as a primary obstacle to implementing principal reduction--writing down home loans to their current market value--and other important reforms at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are increasingly showing how vulnerable they are to public pressure,” said Becky Dernbach, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. “Caylin’s unprecedented settlement offer is the latest example. We won’t stop until Fannie and Freddie’s policies work in the best interest of all homeowners. They are owned by taxpayers, and they need to remember that.”
Back in D.C. two weeks ago for a court hearing, Caylin delivered a letter to Fannie Mae headquarters from Rose McGee, a Golden Valley homeowner fighting her foreclosure with Fannie Mae and CitiMortgage.
“It makes a big difference knowing that I’m not alone in this battle,” said Caylin. “After what’s happened to me, I’ve made it my mission to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. If the banks can negotiate with me, they can negotiate with everyone.”