This morning, homeowner Anita Reyes-Reley was served an eviction notice on the door of her home of 17 years. Yet in a dramatic turn of events, by 3:00pm she received an offer from Woodlands National Bank that would keep her in her home. This improbable victory, the second for Occupy Homes MN in one week, comes after community supporters successfully lead a pressure campaign consisting of phone calls, emails, and a petition to the bank demanding they negotiate a new loan for Anita.
“I’ve been waiting for this call for six months, and I wouldn’t have gotten it without Occupy Homes,” said homeowner Anita Reyes-Reley. “We’ve built a lot of pressure over the past month and the final push from community members over the past couple days finally brought the bank to the table.”
This announcement was shared with 60 community members, including nationally renowned local hip-hop artist Brother Ali, in front of the Cruz family home. The community rallied today to send off the Cruz family, whose battle against an unjust foreclosure has become a focal point for the Occupy movement, to PNC bank headquarters in Pittsburgh to renegotiate their mortgage. The rally and Anita’s victory mark the kick-off of a coordinated week of actions across the country designed to bring national attention to the Cruz family’s situation.
“Our family can’t believe how much support we have received from around the country in our fight to save our home. We are so thankful for each and every one of you,” said Alejandra Cruz.
The Cruz family will travel 800 miles with their loan modification documents to demand a meeting with PNC Bank CEO Jim Rohr, and ask the bank to renegotiate their mortgage. On the way, they will visit Freddie Mac, the current owner of the house, at their regional office in Chicago.
In the past month, 24 activists with Occupy Homes MN have been arrested defending the Minneapolis home of the Cruz family from a foreclosure that began when PNC Bank failed to withdraw an online mortgage payment. David and Alejandra Cruz, who have already played a role in a successful movement for justice as DREAM Act activists, say their family can pay a mortgage and want to meet with bank officials to negotiate an agreement that will allow them to return to their home.
“The family has tried for over a year to modify their loan and send in the documents proving that they can pay the mortgage. Despite verbal commitments from PNC executives,” said Martha Ockenfels-Martinez of Occupy Homes, “we still have not seen a firm commitment from them to review the facts of this case. If the family has to drive to Pittsburgh and hand deliver the appropriate docs and get a face to face meeting with someone who can fix this, then that’s what we’ll do.”
“We feel like PNC and Freddie Mac have forgotten us,” said David Cruz. “So we’re going to remind them.”
The schedule for the week’s actions are as follows:
WEDNESDAY 6/20, 1pm: Rally at Freddie Mac office, Chicago, IL.
The Cruz family will make a stop at the regional headquarters of Freddie Mac, the bailed-out secondary market lender that has posted guards and boarded up the doors and windows with reinforced steel to keep the Cruz family and supporters out of their home.
THURSDAY 6/21: National Day of Action Against PNC Bank.
As the Cruz family arrives at the PNC bank headquarters in Pittsburgh supporters will rally across the country to demand that PNC live up to their word and work with the Cruz family.
- In Minneapolis supporters will hold a rally and vigil at the Cruz home (6pm Central Time; 4044 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN)
- Rallies in support of the Cruz family are planned in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Gainesville, Greensboro, Milwaukee, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis.
- In Pittsburgh the Cruz family delegation and local supporters will rally and march to PNC Headquarters. (1pm Eastern Time, Market Square)
Video profile of the Cruz family story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_6Kz8MIpns&feature=youtu.be
High quality photos: http://peterleeman.tumblr.com/tagged/cruz-house
Alejandra Cruz's petition for her family: http://www.change.org/CruzHome