Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)–September 5, 2012. Chicagoans fighting eviction and foreclosure will rally with Maria Dolores at the regional offices of Fannie Mae, a taxpayer-funded mortgage lending company that is evicting Dolores and thousands of other families across Chicago. For months, Dolores had sought a mortgage modification from her lender, Indy Mac/One West Bank. For more information, watch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sKC9FDCvnY&feature=player_embedded
“They didn’t give us any changes and I have been living here for a long time,” said Maria Dolores. “I’m still here. I want to keep my house. I want to keep my family close to me. It’s better for them and for me if they give me a modification.”
Rather than working out an agreement that would keep her in her home, Indy Mac foreclosed on her property, then auctioned it off on December 5th, 2011. Fannie Mae, which backed her original mortgage, purchased the home at an auction. Dolores, a member of Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions, has vowed to stay in her home, demanding that Fannie Mae work out an agreement that keeps her in her home. For months, she has been reaching out to officials at Fannie Mae, but has received no response. Instead of opening a dialogue, they have notified her that she must be out of the house, where she has lived for 15 years, within the next several weeks. To support her, family, friends, and neighbors have committed to occupying her Rogers Park home until Fannie Mae negotiates with her.
Many of the groups that have vowed to support Maria – including Occupy Chicago, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions – will be joining Dolores and her neighbors outside of the Midwest Regional Offices of Fannie Mae late Wednesday afternoon. While big Wall Street Banks have come under criticism for their role in creating the housing crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, having received over $300 billion in taxpayer bailouts, have also failed to implement effective policies for assisting the more than 15 million U.S. homeowners trapped in mortgages that are “underwater,” meaning their mortgage debt is greater than what the home is actually worth.
Instead of supporting effective solutions to the foreclosure crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have sought to block local initiatives. In response to the city’s 2011 Vacant Property Ordinance, the Federal Housing Finance Authority, headed by Ed Demarco, sued the city, claiming that the law was unconstitutional because the FHFA is the sole regulator of Fannie and Freddie. Earlier this year, FHFA announced that it had “significant concerns” about any use of eminent domain to help underwater homeowners just as the City Council was holding hearings on adopting this as a method to address the foreclosure crisis. FHFA Director Demarco himself has repeatedly stated his opposition to any form of principal reduction.
Since 2009, President Obama has had the option of forcing the FHFA to engage in large-scale principal reduction of the 60% of U.S. mortgages that are owned or backed by the agencies by replacing Ed DeMarco with someone willing to do principal reduction. Instead, Obama has continued to prop up Demarco, a Bush administration appointee, ignoring the massive foreclosure crisis that is crippling the economy. Dolores and her supporters are calling on the president to fire Demarco and implement a large-scale mortgage principal writedown on all underwater mortgages to their current market value. President Obama’s current plans to only push for more refinancing is clearly not enough, and economists from both ends of the political spectrum have advocated for this solution. Studies have shown that this would create more than 1.5 million jobs every year, pump over $100 billion per year back into communities, save families in the U.S. over $500 per month, and solve the foreclosure crisis once and for all. President Obama’s current plans to only push for more refinancing is clearly not enough, and economists from both ends of the political spectrum have advocated for this solution.
One homeowner who would benefit from this is Tracey Jones, a doctoral student and South Side homeowner, who is now facing foreclosure. Since November 2011, she was seeking to short-sale the condominium she originally purchased for $115,000. She now owes more than $127,000, but her efforts to sell it have been blocked by Fannie Mae, the investor on her mortgage. The company refuses to complete an agreement stating the home is only worth $59,000. With only intermittent employment, Jones, like several other homeowners in her courtway, had trouble paying her mortgage note and is now trapped with an underwater mortgage. She will be joining Dolores and others to call attention to how principal reduction would help her keep her home and meet her mortgage obligations. This action will be the first of many actions nationally that will also target Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac on this issue.
When: Wednesday, September 5, 5pm
Where: Fannie Mae Midwest Regional Offices, 1 South Wacker Dr. to Obama Campaign HQ, 130 E. Randolph
What: Homeowners and Community activists protest Fannie Mae, march to Obama Campaign HQ
Who: Occupy Chicago, Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions (CUAFE), Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign (CAEC)
Visuals: 6 feet-wide “mortgage-debt ball” chained to an underwater home and impacted Chicagoans