Have you ever been homesick? I am, and we haven’t even left yet. Our home of 16 years is being foreclosed on. And we don’t have much time, and no money.

I’ve seen tumblr do amazing things. From getting people enough notes to get fluffy chickens to creating safe havens and helping people get safe homes.

I’ve gotten to the point where there’s nowhere else to turn. I need your help.
My family home of 16 years is being foreclosed on. We have no clue where we’re going, and frankly, the bank doesn’t care. We have no money for bags to clean out the house or afford gas to the dump. We can’t afford to rent U-Hauls or even wrapping paper for cups and glasses.
This is where I turn to you. I’ve created an online fundraiser. I know, many of you don’t have the money to help. But I want you to spread this as far and wide as you can.
Send it to your favorite youtubers, or internet personalities. Try to get them to share it. Send it out on Facebook. We’re living in this house right now on borrowed time. I won’t waste time trying to sugar coat it. If we’re not gone by the time they give us an official date, people will come in and throw our things out onto the street. They do not care where we go. They just want us out.

I am currently untreated for severe (diagnosed) depression and anxiety. My father is disabled, and any apartment willing to take him in, won’t take myself or the animals in. They’ll barely take mom, and that’s because she’s of a certain age.

We are trying to find a house for rent, but we have to make a safety deposit. We have two weeks, maybe three if we’re lucky. My father makes barely 700 a month from his check, and if all that goes to rent, we won’t be able to pay for utilities, internet (so I can look for jobs in our new town), medicine, and other bills. His check doesn’t come in til the 3rd of every month. And that’s after they want us out.

Spread this as far as you can, and try to get people to help. I am asking, and I’m practically begging, because at this point it’s not about saving face or making sure i don’t seem ‘desperate’. It’s about making it out okay.

I am begging every last one of you to please foward this. If you can’t, for whatever reason, that’s fine. But please. I just want us to be okay. And with your help, we can be. And feel free to send me questions. But please do not question the legitimacy of my situation, because this is very real and very terrifying. And I wouldn’t be this desperate otherwise.

Thank you so so much.

I’m going to tag my main fandoms because I feel like you guys can help me out. Please don’t be upset to see this in the tag. Thank you for reading this.

"Reasonable"

It seems reasonable that various economic conditions could cause this sort of crisis of homelessness. And it’s reasonable that other economic conditions could cause a glut of vacant homes. But when we see both at the same time, the train has gone off the tracks. Maybe it’s time to stop evicting people after foreclosure if they’re willing to pay some reasonable amount of rent.

When I tell this to the attorneys in charge of doing the evicting, they tell me to be reasonable. I’m afraid I no longer know how. When the world is stuck in a fun house mirror and the world is warped beyond recognition, it’s hard to draw a straight line.

"Well that lady shouldn’t have lived in such a deadbeat-ish house."

4 Cases of Mistaken Address That Are Too Crazy For Reality

#2. Idiot Bank Repossesses The Wrong House

When Kate Barnett arrived home from a two-week vacation, she was dismayed to find that the First National Bank in Wellston, Ohio had repossessed her home. The locks were changed, and her belongings had been either sold or destroyed. This would be a stressful situation for anybody, but Barnett’s situation was extra-unique, as First National wasn’t even her bank.

Read More

Dec. 23, 2013

I took a seasonal delivery job this year. Two days before Christmas, I found myself trying to deliver a bottle of wine to a family that had to leave their house two days prior because they were foreclosed on by Bank of America. There was the detritus of a family with kids and dreams scattered outside, abandoned knick knacks and a large photo display grid with a few pictures removed.

They didn’t take their Christmas decorations down, and the dry legal letter posted in the front window said they had a few weeks left to retrieve the personal property they left behind or it would be destroyed. I felt like there was quite a bit destroyed there already. The house seemed vaguely haunted, and as I pasted the note stating I’d attempted to deliver the wine from a friend or family member who didn’t yet know what had happened, I could have sworn I heard someone run down the stairs littered with small boxes they likely had to leave behind.

Dismayed, I walked back to the car. Who could have used a bottle of wine more than these folks? The package will be returned to the shipper this week, and the person who placed the order will be notified that the people to whom he wished to send holiday greetings this year no longer exist at that address.

The effect, according to a 2012 National Fair Housing Alliance report, has been ‘the largest loss of wealth for these communities in modern history.’ Between 2009 and 2012 African Americans lost just under $200 billion in wealth, bringing the gap between white and black wealth to a staggering 20:1 ratio… Cities have increased fines levied against banks that don’t maintain their houses, but not a single bank has been held accountable for drug dealing, murders, and rapes that occur on their unmaintained or poorly maintained properties. The only ‘crime’ they appear concerned about is when community activists try to fix up such homes and move families in — doing the job the bank was supposed to do in the first place. Then banks call the police to arrest the ‘trespassers.’
—  Laura Gottesdiener, "The Backyard Shock Doctrine"
Jestre's Mother, Diane French, Needs Attorney Help!

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The history of her situation is as follows:

  • Diane French, age 50, my mom, has been a single mother for 14 years maintaining her household over that time. She was a Realtor for various offices prior to the real estate crash of 2007.
  • She eventually lost her job as a Realtor in 2011 due to being unable to afford a renewal of her real estate license and has been struggling to receive income and job placement since.
  • In 2011, my mom received an offer from an attorney about fraudulent mortgages.
  • Greta Wilson, from New Orleans, LA, stated she had a case involving many federal violations on her mortgage, but wouldn’t speak with my mother until she received $4,000 (USD).
  • Her office and associates knew she was going into foreclosure.
  • Within a week of Greta receiving the money, Greta gave my mom a consultation call and a referral due to her foreclosure
  • Greta referred my mom to Adam Tracy in St. Charles, IL in February 2012 because, according to Greta, she claimed Adam could help with my mom’s foreclosure.
  • Adam wouldn’t return my mom’s phone calls and would only occasionally respond to her emails.
  • In October 2013, Adam said, in addition to communicating with her, he would represent my mom for free for her foreclosure and would file her lawsuit within two days.
  • He has not responded to my mom’s emails or calls since then and the lawsuit has not been filed.
  • For the foreclosure, my mom has gone to court six or more times without anything from her supposed attorney over the course of two years.
  • My mom was told by Greta Wilson or her associates via a link to an article in her email, that there are home owners that got their homes from the banks due to the banks having no right to them. The home owners were claimed to be saved.
  • The bank involved, originally Countrywide (now Bank of America) was additionally going to sell her house during her foreclosure which was one of the federal violations.

What I’m asking is that she needs law, if not financial, assistance. A proper attorney or representative is what she needs as our house is in a status of near loss.

We have various forms of communication to documentation to support these claims.

Please help or refer me to someone who can help at jestre001@gmail.com!

(Image from Anuk: source)

"I sue banks."

"What do you do?" is one of those questions that calls for different levels of detail depending on the context. If I’m feeling particularly glib, I sometimes answer, "I sue banks."

People rarely ask the obvious follow-ups. Why do you sue banks? What did the banks do to deserve so much suing?

Instead they say things like, “That’s God’s work. Keep it up.”

This is a pretty dramatic shift from a few years back. Previously people wanted details. Are you suing banks because you’re a money-grubbing lawyer or some kind of quixotic bleeding heart who doesn’t understand the financial system?1 That’s all changed.

Some of it was the recession. Some of it was Occupy. Whatever the cause, it’s a pretty widespread assumption that the banks are so thoroughly up to things they should not be up to that the specifics of why they’re being sued isn’t particularly relevant. “I sue banks” is a bit like saying, “I punch Nazis.”

  1. The answer I’m looking for is quixotic bleeding heart with a head for numbers. 

Mortgages Mean Nothing!

In an unsealed lawsuit, it was discovered that banks resorted to faking documents in order prove true ownership of the homes they were trying to foreclose on.

This means that millions of mortgages in the U.S. lack a legitimate chain of ownership. The 2011 lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court in both North and South Carolina by a white-collar fraud specialist named Lynn Syzmoniak.

28 banks, mortgage servicers, and document processing companies were named in the suit including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Bank of America.

Syzmoniak researched her own mortgage documents in 2009, finding the company that claimed ownership over her mortgage didn’t have ownership until 4 months after filing for foreclosure. Eventually, she examined thousands of documents, piecing together the entire scheme.

Mortgages exist in two parts: the promissory note, which acts as the IOU from the borrower to the lender and the mortgage, which creates the lien on the home in case the loan is defaulted.

Banks purchased loans from originators and then in a process known as securitization enacted a series of transactions that pooled thousands of mortgages into bonds, sold all over the world as public pension funds to investors.

A trustee would then pool the loads and sell the securities to investors, and then the investors would get an annual percentage yield on their money.

In order for the process to work, banks would physically put the promissory note and mortgages into the trust. The note would have to be endorsed and hand it over to a document custodian for the trust with a “mortgage assignment” confirming the transfer of ownership.

All of this had to be done before a 90-day cut off date that had no grace period. According to Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin:

"If mortgages were not properly transferred in the securitization process, then mortgage-backed securities would in fact not be backed by any mortgages whatsoever."

The lawsuit alleged that these notes as well as the mortgage assignments were never delivered making ownership of the mortgage impossible to establish, if the banks owned the homes to begin with.

After realizing proof of ownership could not be provided, the banks then forged several documents to establish ownership and were caught red handed.

The banks settled out of court for a paltry $95 million dollars, which is nothing compared to the damages they caused to families around the country.

Nation

What do you think can be done to bring white-collar fraud like this to justice?

"A Hurricane Without Water"

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(Credit: Detroit Blight Task Force Removal Plan for the above image)

At LOVELAND Technologies, I deal with Detroit property data everyday through our property mapping platform, Why Don’t We Own This? The data I was working with there led me to start GooBing Detroit. 

Since there’s some attention coming this way, I should probably take a moment to explain this blog — which has mostly been a context-less index of stuff found while virtually driving the streets of Detroit. I’ll start with this:

"Detroit’s getting better — sure, there are neighborhoods that have problems, but they’ve been that way for 30 or 40 years."

I’ve heard statements like this a number of times in conversation and online. The idea that problems with Detroit’s property issues are decades old. Some of the root causes are certainly buried that far back, but this idea distorts what I think is still a little understood fact: The 2008-9 financial crisis had a devastating impact on the state of property in Detroit.

One Detroit group describes the last six years of property deterioration as “A Hurricane Without Water.” I think it is an apt metaphor.

The financial crisis probably served as the last push to tip a lot of Detroit properties and property owners over the edge. Detroit has some of the highest property taxes relative to the value of homes in the nation.

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The crisis came at a moment when home values had already been declining for years. All of the sudden there was a precipitous drop in value, yet assessments remained incredibly high, city services further declined, and you had tens of thousands of people facing a situation where their house was worth $20,000, they owed $3,000 or so a year in property taxes, and were delivered very poor city services for that exorbitant sum. So they left. They were kicked out via speculators buying their homes at foreclosure auctions, they started renting, left the city, bought a cheaper place. All kinds of things.

The result is the graph you see below. 70,000+ tax foreclosures since the financial crisis. An annual auction that sees 20,000 properties go up for bid for $500 a piece, sold oftentimes to speculators who do nothing to the property. Half the properties don’t sell, and are inherited by the city, where their fate, historically, has been just as bad.

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(Credit: Detroit Blight Task Force Removal Plan for the above image)

Anyway the point is that, yes, Detroit has faced decline for decades, but there is an untold story about the impact the financial crisis had on the city. This blog is cataloging just a bit of that evidence.

Funny story about a bank. Wells Fargo forecloses on one of the predatory loans it serviced. The homeowner leaves. Then a few years later the city notices that the bank wasn’t maintaining the property1 and the city sues under an anti-blight ordinance. Wells Fargo’s attorney suddenly says, “Wait, we don’t own that property. Sure, we said we foreclosed. But we didn’t actually own the mortgage at the time. So make the homeowner pay for it.” This is a bit weird because Wells Fargo doesn’t seem to have mentioned to the homeowner that he still owns a house.

So now Wells Fargo is trying to make the guy they foreclosed on responsible for the repairs. This is going to be a bit tough for him because he lives in a homeless shelter.

  1. I’m not saying that Wells Fargo didn’t maintain the property because it was in a community of color. Although Wells Fargo has [a record] on that sort of thing. 

10

Seattle Eviction Blockade 7/18/14 Part 1

Byron Barton, a disabled Vietnam veteran who had been living in his home for 61 years, was kidnapped from his house by police after they broke into his home and changed the locks on his doors.
Activists barricaded the back fence, linked arms across the doorways, and shouted, chanting phrases like, “Housing is a human right! We won’t leave without a fight!” and “1,2,3,4! No more sheriffs at our door! 5, 6, 7, 8! Don’t evict negotiate!” Barton had himself chained to his bed inside by his wife who had also chained herself to the bed using a lockbox.
Eventually the SPD was able to cut the chains and they proceeded to bring Byron out of the house. Byron had to be placed in a wheelchair because he could not walk, eat, or drink without assistance. 
Activists proceeded to block the police’s path out of the doorway and onto the Bartons’ steps that let to the street. The SPD decided to carry Byron through his neighbors’ yard and down their steps as they pushed and shoved the activists out of the way.
The activists threw themselves down onto the steps to block the SPD’s path. The police dragged their bodies through bushes, scraped them against the concrete, and yanked their arms until they thought they’d dislocated at the shoulder but they jumped right back in front of the officers and laid back down. The police had to push against them, inch by inch, as they fought for the return of Byron to his home.

I do not think the police were expecting this kind of organized resistance but that is what they got.

(Photos courtesy of Alex Garland)

Hey all. My dad has been unemployed for a few months now, and as the primary income for our household, we have been a little tight on money.

Now, we are facing foreclosure by the end of the month. It’s been a little rough around here, but I am hoping that some of my followers will be kind enough to help us get through this time until he gets back on his feet, and gets a job.

Bills are due, house payments are due, and we just don’t have the money. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now, and I can tell you right now that it sucks. It’s stressful. I’m trying to go to school right now, and I can’t afford my tuition, and I can’t get out of this minimum wage ditch I’ve dug myself into.

Anything can help. Anything. Please, please, please. Help me out.

If Dashcon can raise 17,000 in one night, I'm sure we can help people who need it.
Hi! The reason why I made this campaign is because my family has been going through some troubles lately. It all started when my mother had to go to the hospital a few years back. She’s had 9 surgery’s in total, 4 feeding tubes, she was in 2 coma’s, and now we’re stuck with endless medical bills. My grandfather lost his construction job 4 years back, and now we’re stuck with living paycheck to paycheck. We still have our house that was in foreclosure, but everyday we fear that it will be taken away from us because we don’t have the money to pay for it. Our car broke down so we bought a very old, used car just to get us to where we need to go. Unfortunately, we can hardly pay the monthly car and insurance payment. I’m only 15 so I can’t find a job, but I don’t want to sit around and watch my family struggle. It would mean the world to me if you could donate a few dollars. Anything helps.

http://www.gofundme.com/bnulys

When U.S. Bank foreclosed on Candejah’s house, she decided she wasn’t leaving. She’d lost her job in the recession and her already predatory loan became impossible. That was three and a half years ago.

Candejah was one of the early members of Springfield No One Leaves, which is the most effective and inspiring grassroots anti-foreclosure and affordable housing group I know of. They run on a shoestring budget and have managed to keep a few hundred people in their homes for years. Bit by bit the banks are throwing in the towel and offering to sell the homes back after foreclosure for what they’re actually worth. Sometimes less.

Of course, there are a few problems.

  1. With a foreclosure on the credit report, conventional lenders won’t offer even a very small loan to solve the problem.
  2. After years in limbo, a lot of houses need some serious repair immediately, which is a massive up-front cost. While there are usually funds availabile to help low-income homeowners with this sort of big-ticket item. Except the recorded foreclosure screws up the title and nobody can lend.
  3. Poverty is geographically concentrated. Even where communities pull together to help out their members, their’s just not much money to go around.

So Candejah’s asking her friends, family, neighbors, and internet friends for help coming up with $20,000 to buy back her home and get the roof fixed for her family. This is literally all it would take to provide an entire three-generation family in stable housing.

Between everything Candejah’s been through and everybody Candejah has inspired, a friend of Candejah’s is a friend of mine. If that sort of thing works in reverse, please support Candejah as you are able or share her story.

Think of it like the 21st century version of a barn raising where a community comes together, everybody chips in a bit, and something important gets done.

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