Nov 23, 2011
Two families facing eviction due to foreclosure – one scheduled for eviction the day after Thanksgiving – are refusing to leave, and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction is mounting a public campaign to pressure their lenders to give them mortgage modifications.
CUAFE has posted Youtube videos asking people to call lawyers for HSBC Bank and IndyMac/OneWest Bank to consider offers the group says banks have ignored.
Arturo Martinez and Remedios Sanchez have lived for 25 years in their Albany Park home, now shared with a daughter and several grandchildren. Martinez began struggling with his mortgage after his hours were cut at work; because of a mix-up when court papers were served, he didn’t know his home was in foreclosure until after it was sold, according to Chris Poulos of CUAFE.
They were recently informed that they’re scheduled for eviction Friday.
‘We’re not leaving’
“I’ve called them more than 20 times,” says Martinez in a video. “I would like them to give me a chance to sort things out with them. I’ve spent 25 years in this home.”
“They are trying to take our home away from us, but we’re not leaving,” says Sanchez.
Maria Dolores Calvillo of Rogers Park got no response to multiple requests for a loan mod to IndyMac, after she had financial difficulties following a divorce. She’s back on her feet now, running a day care center, but her home is scheduled to go to auction on December 5.
“I have been paying such a long time – ten years, twelve years,” she says in another video. “How much money they are making from me!
“I love this home. I’m not hiding. I’m not running away. I’m staying here…It’s better for [the bank] and for me to give me a modification.”
Stonewalling and fraud
In the face of widespread stonewalling on mortgage modifications and fraudulent foreclosure practices, CUAFE encourages people to refuse to leave their homes and mounts public pressure campaigns to get banks to grant them affordable modifications, Poulos said.
The group sometimes stages protests when evictions are scheduled; often sheriff’s deputies, with a heavy backlog of evictions, will simply move on “if we show them we’re going to be in their way,” he said.
In one case, the group met a homeowner at foreclosure court after a judge had ordered her to leave, Poulos said. After extensive pressure, the lender – who had never returned the homeowner’s calls – called her and ended up giving her a modification with an interest write-down, a principal reduction, and a fixed rate.
“If banks just did that in the first place, there wouldn’t be a foreclosure crisis,” Poulos said.
Instead, five years into the foreclosure crisis, we are not even halfway through, according to a new report from the Center for Resposible Lending.
The group plans other actions in the next two weeks: On November 29, a Broadview homeowner will hold a press conference to announce that “she has decided to occupy her foreclosed home,” and on December 6, a housewarming party will welcome a family that is moving into an abandoned building in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.