We meet every Thursday, 6 p.m. at Old St. John's church, located at 2120 Russell, next to Eastern Market, Detroit. It's just off I-75, and has ample parking -- enter from the parking lot side door. See map.
To discuss a possible foreclosure/eviction for the first time, please come at 5:45.
Sat. March 15
11 am - 2 pm
Meet with experienced lawyers & activists who will help you assess your situation, understand your choices, and suggest next steps.
Young woman faces eviction for being victim of violence!
Support her at hearing April 1
Come at 12:45 pm to 22nd District Court, Inkster
In a shocking case of blaming the victim, the Inkster Housing Commission is trying to evict a young woman because of “disturbances” caused by the man who on several occasions came to the apartment and beat her.
She is filing a motion to stay the eviction. Because the man is still at large, we can't publicize her name.
Broad support for her helped convince the court to cancel a Jan. 31 hearing, and a Feb 27 hearing was also cancelled.
hearing canceled indefinitely...
Instead of taking her to court Jan. 28, Fannie Mae is negotiating!
Last December, in a Detroit courtroom full of supporters for Ms. Smith, Judge Evans granted her time to argue against being evicted from her family's Detroit home of over 50 years.
As Smith organizes passionately to save her home , subsequent eviction hearings have been canceled, and Fannie Mae agreed to talk. Stay tuned...
Hearing for Lela Whitfield postponed
In Detroit's 36th District Court, Ms. Whitfield is fighting for the right to buy the home she's lived in most of her life. Find out more.
A Dream Foreclosed:
Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home
"Dr. King would be appalled that today thousands of people are affected by the banks’ mortgage and foreclosure crisis," writes Eviction Defense activist Jerry Cullors in a review of this book for Labor Notes.
Among the four families the book focuses on -- "giving an inside view of each family’s challenges with banks and bank servicing agents" -- are the Garretts, who "found courage and support from Detroit Eviction Defense." Read the review.
|Homeowner Jerry Cullors & Eviction Defense lawyer Jerry Goldberg testified in Lansing|
|Photo by Terry Hall|
Lansing attack on homeowners!
Outrageous bills the Governor signed take effect in 2014. Find out more.
Thanks to all for the great rally for Jerome Jackson held Sept. 28
The food cooked by his sister Jettowynne Jones & other activists was plentiful & delicious, the music was great, & the solidarity was inspiring!
A special shout-out to the new people who came out!
Last year we also helped many homeowners avoid tax eviction. And we presented Wayne County Commissioners a Resolution at their August meeting to halt the Sept. & Oct. auctions for owner-occupied homes.
We were back on Sept. 12 & presented each Commissioner a list of owner-occupied homes slated foreclosure in his/her district.
|Mr. Martinez thanks supporters at June 1 march on Chase Bank.|
|Photo by Daymon Hartley|
Ray Mandry gets settlement, not eviction
| Ray Mandry, a vet who has disabilities, had to fight the government he served, as it tried to evict him from his home.
Video tells the shocking story of how Bank of America and the federal government jerked him around, and how he acted to save his home.
Hernandez family wins 45-day delay in new eviction request!
|In a video by Excellent Schools Detroit, the Hernandez sisters talk about what their home means to them and how the threat of eviction weighs on them. See video.|
This fall an outpouring of people rallied for the Hernandez family in Southwest Detroit, determined to stop the unfair eviction ordered for September. We marched, organized in the neighborhood (including a Hallowe'en party), and camped out in a non-stop vigil at the home until the eviction order expired.
Fannie Mae, the government-run mortgage giant that wanted to evict the family, asked for a Feb. 20 court hearing to get a new eviction order, and we got ready to contest it. But Fannie Mae, which has a new director, finally responded directly to the pressure and agreed to talk.
We aren't home free and remain vigilant. Meanwhile, we thank Eviction Defense supporters, the UAW union and neighbors, for helping the family get its first break, and we especially thank the Hernandez family for their tenacity - and congratulate them on their new baby, born during the struggle. Find out more. And keep the phone calls coming!
March 31 deadline is coming, fall auctions loom
Tax foreclosures of owner-occupied homes threaten families, neighbors
Don’t let this happen to you – and yours
|45 people threatened with tax foreclosure attended our free legal & organizing clinics last fall.|
Wayne County is preparing to foreclose on close to 50,000 properties that are behind on their taxes. Many are owner-occupied, and the last thing we need is more families evicted from their homes in Detroit and Wayne County. We see the wreckage of past foreclosures all around us.
Many homes now at risk have been over-assessed for years at amounts way above their actual values. Many are owned by families who are suffering illnesses, job loss and other temporary hardships. If they get thrown on the street they could have nowhere to go and whole neighborhoods will suffer, as homes are trashed by vandals and/or bought up by speculators.
Some families, including those victimized by the defunct Paramount company’s scam, might have their homes seized because the former owners/sellers of the homes failed to record their interests and/or failed to pay the back taxes owed before the families moved in.
Step Forward steps back
Although Step Forward Michigan, controlled by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), got $498 million in federal money to help families avoid both tax and mortgage foreclosures, they are denying applications for assistance by the thousands, and often don’t even answer the phone. Just 22% of the millions earmarked for distressed homeowners had been spent by the last months of 2013.
The clock is ticking - but often something can be worked out
By March 31, families threatened with foreclosure are supposed to pay off all the taxes and penalties they owe through 2011, or have worked out a plan with the county. Those who can’t come up with the money could see their homes taken over by the county treasurer, which means the homes can be auctioned off in September and October.
But even after the March deadline, it is possible to negotiate to save a home. If you or someone you know is in danger of tax foreclosure, please act now.
On Feb. 19, we called on Executive Ficano & Wayne County:
Stop the eviction of Jerome Jackson!
at County office building, downtown Detroit
|Supporters call on Ficano to stop the eviction of Jackson, who then speaks about his dream.|
Wayne County broke the promise it made when it lured Jerome Jackson and other people with disabilities into buying homes. Because the County and Community Living Services pledged to help with mortgage payments, Jackson invested heavily into making his home accessible.
But the County and CLS suddenly pulled the plug and stopped paying their share, and the giant mortgage insurer Fannie Mae took over. It's trying to throw Jerome out; he is fighting to stay.
Join city-wide campaign:
Save Detroit—Save Our Homes!
Dozens of neighborhoods & faith-based, labor & community groups call for end to destructive federal bank policy
|We marched on Fannie Mae offices in Chicago last August, demanding change.|
A city-wide campaign is brewing to keep people in their homes and stop the storm surge of foreclosure and eviction that is devastating communities and destroying the tax base. A coalition of neighborhood associations, unions, churches, and social justice groups is mounting a campaign to reverse the policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that are driving thousands of Detroit families from their homes. See the latest list of endorsers.
While we fight eviction case by case, we are also targeting these system-wide policies that abuse homeowners and ravage our neighborhoods. Download the flyer that describes the campaign and urge your union, church or group to add their name to the list of endorsers we will deliver to Washington DC in February.
Federal government must act to:
1) Stop Foreclosures and Evictions from Owner-Occupied Homes;
2) Reduce Mortgage Principal on Underwater Homes; and
3) Sell Repossessed Homes to Owner Occupants at Market Value
See details. For more information on how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are threatening our community, you can also download the 10 page booklet, “A Hurricane Without Water.”
|After we visited the luxury home of a mortgage scammer who cheated the Hernandez family, he moved out & was arrested.|
In Southwest Detroit
Hernandez family fights off eviction
Eviction order expired, talks begin
Mortgage imposter who stole their savings arrested
|In September & again in November, crowds of 50+ rallied in support of the family.
The Hernandez family – Ludim and Gabriela, their three daughters Kriscia, Yelinne, and Litzy (and their puppy) – are determined to stay in the Southwest Detroit home where they've lived for over a decade.
Facing hard times and job layoffs, the family fell behind on their mortgage payments in 2012, and their home was foreclosed on and sold at sheriff sale to the giant bank taken over by the federal government, Fannie Mae.
All-day vigils helped stave off eviction
A judge ordered their eviction for last September, and we opposed this cruel act with all-day vigils at the Hernandez home, every day. We are urging Fannie Mae to accept a reasonable offer to help the family regain their home, and to stop demanding they pay a sum that now totals more than four times the current value of the house.
They were swindled out of $15,000 they paid to keep home
When they tried to buy back their home during the foreclosure process, the family got fleeced out of their life savings of $15,000 by Kenneth Sandoval, a wealthy Northville man who presented himself as a mortgage representative.
But after we twice visited his home to insist he repay the family, alerted neighbors, and filed a complaint with the Attorney General -- and other victims also complained -- Sandoval was asked to leave his luxury home and was arrested.
Fannie Mae ordered the eviction, but now is in talks. Find out what you can do.
Ray Mandry fought eviction & is now, finally, safe in his home.
Homeowners get settlement, not eviction
Three homeowners who testified at our People's Hearing last year have won settlements with Fannie Mae that kept them from being evicted. Confidentiality clauses keep us from giving details, but they are:
Ray Mandry, a veteran with disabilities who was unemployed during the Great Recession Hear his story; Thea Simmons, who fell behind on her mortgage after the City of Detroit laid her off; and Edward Khammo, who went into default after becoming seriously ill.
All three had applied for modifications from the two banks servicing the mortgages for Fannie Mae, Chase and Bank of America. The banks then "lost" paperwork, switched personnel, and ran up profitable late fees during phony trial mortgage modifications or forebearance before suddenly seeking eviction orders on behalf of Fannie Mae.
We apparently got Fannie Mae's attention at the People's Hearing held last May, even though Fannie Mae officials who had promised to attend backed out at the last moment. The day after Ray Mandry testified to the empty chairs we had placed in the hall for the missing officials, Fannie Mae lawyers called and talks began for a settlement. Mandry got a "reasonable" loan modification that allows him to remain in his home.
What you can do about tax foreclosure
- Come to our March 15 Free legal clinic and Organizing meeting 11am to 2pm at Old St. John’s Church, 2120 Russell in Detroit. Meet with experienced attorneys who can help you assess your situation, help you understand your choices, and suggest next steps.
- Come to an organizing meeting – Across the country people have been saving their homes by working together. If You are willing to fight back, if you are willing to stand together with others! Join us! We meet every Thursday at 6 p.m. at Old St. John’s church – see details at left. Come at least 15 minutes early to discuss your tax foreclosure problem.
- Help us organize to stop all tax foreclosures of owner-occupied homes. We’re organizing around these principles:
Steps the Feds, State, County and City must take immediately
to save our homes and communities:
1). Moratorium on tax evictions and foreclosures of owner-occupied homes; immediately cut property tax assessments to reflect “fair” market value; Not only should assessments be eased going forward, but tax assessments should be cut retroactively and across the board for homeowners!
2). Stop “reversion” (rapid seizure without the normal process) of owner-occupants homes, due to failure to pay property taxes the year they bought the home;
3). Streamline and ease restrictions on Step Forward Michigan, to get the money to distressed homeowners! Don't spend money that was supposed to help homeowners to instead demolish properties owned and neglected by banks, mortgage companies, or Fannie Mae; these entities should pay!
4). Expand door to door efforts to inform people who live in foreclosed properties of all possible programs to aid in tax and mortgage delinquency;
5). Take legal action to make banks, mortgage companies and Fannie Mae stop dumping properties on the cities and county -- and to recover the taxes and other costs they refused to pay!
More about the tax foreclosure crisis and our commitment to stop abuses that put families in danger of losing their homes.
The #1 Loan Shark
Bank of America
& got the attention of Local Fox News
A Hurricane Without Water
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac feed the foreclosure crisis in Metro Detroit
These two federal agencies are now responsible for more than 70% of the foreclosures and evictions in this country!Easy-to-read new report demystifies the complex world of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and shows how they wreck havoc on our homes and our neighborhoods.
Features pictures, charts and plain language, and shows how we can work together to fight their destructive practices.
Download the report here . (It's 5.2M, so give it time!)
47 Paramount homeowners get
deeds to their homes!
Mass eviction halted after we pressured court & Pension Board
|Some of the homeowners & supporters who filled the courtroom.|
Victims of fraud still need relief from taxes Paramount didn't pay
|Jerome Jackson (center) is always there to help others who face eviction -- & joined this vigil for the Hernandez family.|
Jerome Jackson purchased his home in Inkster in 2004, as part of a nationwide Fannie Mae program targeting people with disabilities for loans that turned out to be predatory. A key part of the deal was that Wayne County and Community Living Services promised to subsidize the mortgage payments.
Jackson did his part, paying his portion of the mortgage each month. And he made his entire home wheelchair accessible. But the County and CLS stoped paying their share, and Fannie Mae moved in to evict.
What we can do
- Call Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano: (313) 224-0286. Insist that he honor Wayne County's agreement with Jerome and work with Fannie Mae to keep Jerome in his home
- Call Community Living Services at (734) 467-7600. Tell them to honor their promise and help Jerome save his home.
Tell Fannie Mae: Don't evict Baxter Jones
We took the struggle to stop the eviction of Baxter Jones to Fannie Mae's Chicago offices on Aug. 20. We did get Fannie Mae to talk to us, but they didn't follow through.
Tsehaya Smith's eviction hearings on hold...
As she fights for her family home
Smith was threatened with eviction from her family home of 50 years before the holidays, but with Eviction Defense help, she won time to present her case.
Fannie Mae, which has been pursuing the eviction, has now agreed to talk. Smith continues to organize support to save her home in a neighborhood that desperately needs occupied homes. Activists, friends & family are making calls to help her. Find out more, give her a hand!
Your phone calls are helping!
After Ms. Smith inherited the home from her mother, the responsibility to pay the mortgage was divided between her and her sisters but eventually fell on Ms. Smith, who lives in the home.
The bank told her to stop paying
The mortgage payments were high, and after paying $25,000 -- more than the home's appraised value, Ms. Smith tried to get a loan modification. Wells Fargo Bank, the servicer of the mortgage, told her that she would have to stop making payments to get the mortgage modified. When Ms. Smith did stop paying, Wells Fargo foreclosed on her instead of modifying her mortgage.
This is crazy!
How even a phone call will make a big difference