Vice-presidential candidate Cheri Honkala of the Green Party gathered with fifty community members on the steps of the Cruz home to protest Freddie Mac’s unjust policies Thursday afternoon.
Honkala, a formerly homeless single mom from Minneapolis and the first formerly homeless person to run for executive office, is considered the founder of the housing justice movement in the Twin Cities. Moved to tears, she held her school-aged nieces, who lost their home to foreclosure two years ago, as she addressed the crowd.
"My journey started on 38th Avenue when my oldest son was nine years old and homeless, and on a cold winter night we housed ourselves in an abandoned house to keep from freezing to death on the streets of Minnesota. Now, some 25 years later, I'm back here in Minnesota, and I just drove about five blocks away from here where my sister Anne and my three beautiful nieces lived for twenty years--and they lost their home," said Cheri Honkala. "Something different has to happen in this country. We are sick and tired of our babies growing up on the streets of this wealthy nation. I will do whatever I possibly can to uplift the struggle of the Cruz family and all the other Cruzes across the entire country."
After a massive public pressure campaign that focused a national spotlight on the Cruz home, PNC Bank agreed to fix their initial error that led to the Cruz family’s foreclosure. PNC has made a commitment to restructuring the original loan and/or writing a new loan to the family. But Freddie Mac, the current owner of the property, has refused to work with the family, or with PNC Bank. Instead they have listed the home on the open market and are looking to sell it as quickly as possible—to anyone but the Cruz family.
“What started on the steps of the Cruz family home has now launched into a national campaign to demand Freddie Mac work with the Cruz family and all families in the same situation across the country. This house has become a symbol for the struggle,” said Jillia Pessenda, organizer with Occupy Homes MN.
Candelight vigils will continue at the Cruz home every weeknight at 6:30 pm, at 4044 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis.
Video of event by Toby Iverson at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/26427310. Cheri's speech begins after 23-minute mark.