Coon Rapids, MN -- After a three-year foreclosure fight, a campaign with Occupy Homes MN, and an investigation by the Minnesota Attorney General, Bank of America and Freddie Mac have offered an affordable loan modification for Frank Clark and Kristina Darrington.
The official offer came one day after the end of Frank and Kristina’s redemption period, which put them at risk for imminent eviction at any time.
“Frank and Kristina have overcome great odds, including a history of homelessness. This victory allows them to sleep soundly in their home, and to continue to help others in their community,” said Ryan Stopera, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN.
Frank overcame a difficult childhood and nine years of homelessness to build a life for himself and his wife Kristina. He became a union laborer and worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week to build the new 35W bridge. After the economic crisis and recession, labor jobs declined dramatically across the state, and Frank’s hours were cut, making mortgage payments difficult. Despite their hardship, Frank and Kristina were denied a loan modification, and were forced into foreclosure. At a sheriff sale, Bank of America bought the home back from themselves for nearly $100,000 less than the original price; while they were unwilling to modify the mortgage for Frank and Kristina, they were more than happy to do so for themselves.
Frank and Kristina took the pledge to remain in their home until they were offered a good faith negotiation. They have built tremendous support from friends, family, neighbors, Laborers’ Union 563, CrossPoint Church, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, and the local media. “This problem is not only in the cities. It affects everyone,” said Frank.
Frank and Kristina are part of the “Minnesota Five,” a group of homeowners fighting Bank of America foreclosure with Occupy Homes MN. After a mass public pressure campaign, so far three of the five have received modifications, including Ruby Brown, who won her home two weeks ago.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which received the largest government bailouts, have been a consistent roadblock for homeowners struggling with foreclosure. Despite FHFA’s own studies showing that principal reduction could save taxpayers up to $1 billion, acting director Ed DeMarco, a federal appointee, has refused to allow it, defying both economists and the Obama administration.
Frank and Kristina’s victory gives hope to homeowners fighting Freddie Mac foreclosure across the country. “Freddie Mac has shown they don't want to work with struggling homeowners. But this shows that they can, and with enough pressure, they will. If they can help us, they can help everyone. Now we will move on to help others in the same situation,” said Kristina.
Frank and Kristina will celebrate their victory at an Occupy Homes block party hosted by Brother Ali Wednesday night from 6-9 pm. The celebration will be at the home of Monique White, a member of Frank’s union who won her home from US Bank in May, at 3310 N. 6th Street, Minneapolis.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Frank and Kristina's new loan includes principal reduction. Instead, it includes principal forbearance.