Dear Wells Fargo,
My name is Jessica English. I am a single mother of four, student, writer and dedicated worker. Despite my hard work – stocking shelves, earning A’s in school, mowing lawns, cleaning houses, writing and publishing social commentary for Minnesota Public Radio, and coordinating volunteers - years of poverty have left my family homeless.
Working with Occupy Homes MN I have reclaimed and repaired a vacant home that had been broken into and was being used as a drug house. I spoke with the neighbors on the block and told them of the plan to move into the home, fix it up, and contribute to the community. They are very supportive, especially after the last vacant home on the block had been taken over by drug dealers, who were also using it as a place to house the violence of the sex trade.
Over the last two years, with the low wages I was earning, I was unable to afford the average rent for an apartment, transportation, food, and medical care. I had to pack all of my children’s belongings and my things and put them in one stall of my friend’s garage. The hardest issue for me was having to ask my ex-husband to change our custody arrangement, so that he has them during the week and I parent them on weekends. Homelessness not only leaves people without their possessions, it separates children from their mothers.
My new home is located within Occupy Homes MN’s “Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone”, a project aiming to make housing a human right by uniting homeowners, tenants and those experiencing homelessness to stop evictions and assert control over the homes in South Minneapolis.
The foreclosure crisis is stripping neighborhoods of their value, schools of their funding, and robbing families of security, stability and community. My family and my friends at Occupy Homes MN have come up with a practical solution to address Wells Fargo’s bankrupt business practices, the devastation of homelessness, and the blight of vacant homes--to reclaim homes for housing, not profit.
I'm not asking for free housing. I am asking for a chance to have a safe place to raise my family.
On Wednesday we will march from my home to the local Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Center to bring our demands directly from my doorstep to theirs--so please stay tuned.