Oakland Residents Call for Freeze on Foreclosures

“Oakland residents converged Tuesday on an East Oakland street that has been blighted by foreclosures, calling for a freeze on foreclosures until the Homeowners Bill of Rights comes into effect in January, 2013. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on July 2, which and will prevent banks from forcing families from their homes while they are still negotiating mortgages settlements.

“Chanting slogans and carrying placards, at least 35 residents and homeowners demanded that the City of Oakland be declared a foreclosure-free zone until the Homeowners Bill of Rights comes into effect. Among other consumer protections, the bill will require banks to provide mortgage holders with a single point of contact when they are negotiating their loans or loan modifications, as opposed to the current situation in which homeowners say they have been bounced from one customer service agent to another. Banks and lenders would also be required to give a clear explanation to mortgage holders and borrowers when they deny requests for loan modifications.

“The bill would also end the current practice known as “dual tracking,” in which banks and lending institutions can proceed with action to foreclose on a home at the same time as they actively engage a homeowner in negotiations to repay their mortgage.

“‘Even if people get the modifications, there still is a possibility of them losing their homes,’ said Katt Hoban, an organizer with advocacy group the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) which organized the protest.

“The protest was held in the Maxwell Park neighborhood of East Oakland, a neighborhood that the group says has been scarred by foreclosures in recent months. In particular, the venue was chosen to save the home of retired postal worker Lola Daniels, 62, who is at the verge of losing her home on Maxwell Street over a $360,000 mortgage to Bank of America and OneWest (IndyMac)….”

Link: OaklandNorth Article

California Homeowner Bill of Rights Nears Passage

On Monday, July 2, 2012, the California legislature will likely vote on the remaining portions of the Homeowner Bill of Rights proposed by State Attorney General Kamala Harris.

“The bills protect homeowners in two ways:

–They ban so-called dual tracking, when mortgage loan servicers allow borrowers to open an application for loan modification to lower their payments while at the same time the foreclosure process is moving forward. Servicers would be required to provide homeowners with “a single point of contact” so they won’t suffer from bureaucratic runarounds.

–They give owner-occupier, first-mortgage holders a right to sue financial institutions, under limited conditions, if the lenders have willfully, intentionally or recklessly violated the law.”

Links: Los Angeles Times article    San Francisco Chronicle article

June 1 at the Auctions

On June 1, 2012, an auctioneer must have lied to the protestors and went ahead with the sale of a multi-unit apartment building in San Francisco (none went to investors and 311 Lincoln Way went to the bank), instead of just auctioning off the commercial property we had agreed not to protest.

Video in English (thanks to Peter Menchini):

A large number of folks turned out to stop the auction of the home of Bernal neighbor Alberto del Rio and his family. Fortunately, his family managed to file bankruptcy in time to postpone the auction of his home until July 6, 2012.

The protestors unfurled large banners and many people driving by on Van Ness Ave. honked their horns in support. In addition, the protestors yelled “Shame” and held up mirrors with messages such as “Evicting People From Their Homes is Not Just a Job” toward the investors and auctioneers.

Many Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters (FEFs) spoke on the people’s mic and told their stories to the large crowd assembled in front of City Hall, who demanded an end to residential foreclosures and passage of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle of Occupy Bernal presented Good Neighbor Awards to FEFs such as Archbishop Franzo King.

Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Video en espanol: Indignados protestan frente alcaldía para impedir embargo de vecino

Videos in English (thanks to Carol Harvey):

More videos in English:

Thanks to Peg Hunter for the before-the-next-to-last 54 photos, to Peter Menchini for the nexc-to-last 25 photos, to Grace Martinez of ACCE for the last 5 photos.