VOICES - Last Friday, the moment I had been dreading arrived: my family was served an eviction notice by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department. OneWest Bank and Fannie Mae believe this is the final chapter of the foreclosure on our family’s home of almost 7 years. But myself, my mother Rosa Maria, my brother Herbert, and my father Miguel have decided that we will not leave. Fannie Mae will not take our family home!
It is hard for us to believe the manner in which we have been treated by first Indy Mac, then One West bank and now Fannie Mae. After the unfortunate passing of our youngest brother, our family fell behind two weeks on our mortgage payment. During this time, in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown, I was also furloughed from my state job helping others to find employment. It was a miracle that we made it through that time, but we did. We did it by staying focused, working hard, making sacrifices and most importantly coming together as a family.
But my circumstances meant nothing to the bank. OneWest refused my mortgage payment that was just two weeks late. Although three of us have full-time jobs and we are able to pay, they have refused every single payment ever since. Instead, we've been taken on a roller coaster ride of paperwork requests, false promises and denials. It makes no sense.
My parents taught us to work hard, play by the rules and to be good citizens and we have done our best. It has always been my dream to repay them for all they have given me by buying them a home.
I worked hard and saved money to achieve that dream, and we had a home for our multi-generational family of eight. We have celebrated Christmases, birthdays and Thanksgiving in this home, so the prospect of losing it to greed and injustice is simply too much to bear.
Stopping preventable foreclosures is better for families, neighborhoods, and our economy. How is it better to flood our neighborhoods with vacant, abandoned foreclosures than to have homeowners keep paying their mortgage and keep up their properties? Or in other cases to sell them at half the price - lower even than a modified mortgage they could offer to me on my own home first?
That's why we have decided that we are refusing to leave. We are asking that our eviction be halted and that out loan be modified so we can stay. But if the sheriff comes first, we are refusing to move.
And we'll be joined by the hundreds of friends, neighbors, supporters and co-workers that have pledged to stand with us.
There are thousands of families like ours in California and across the nation. The greedy, predatory and irresponsible practices of big banks and their rich CEOs caused the economic collapse and foreclosure crisis, destroying millions of American jobs and devastating families like ours.
Yet after getting bailed out by taxpayers, banks today are making billions in profits by continuing to prey on consumers and extract profits from our communities, with no regard for the impact on neighborhoods and people's economic livelihoods. By holding homeowners underwater and refusing to clean up the foreclosure mess, banks are devastating our neighborhoods, depressing the economy, and preventing millions of working Californians from getting back on their feet.
We are proud to be working with hundreds of families to organize a week of activities to take our fight to the banks to send the message that it's "time to make Wall Street banks pay." We will be calling on banks to keep families in their homes, pay their fair share of taxes and help rebuild hard-hit neighborhoods. The actions will end on October 6th with a mass mobilization of over a thousand people beginning at California Plaza at 350 South Grand.
Together, with your support, we will fight to save our American Dream and thousands of other families across the state. We are not leaving. Will you stand with us?
(Rose Mary Gudiel is a member of ACCE, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. For more information about the mobilizations, please visit makebankspaycalifornia.com. This article was posted first at Calitics.com) -cw
Tags: foreclosure, ACCE, California, Fannie Mae, OneWest, mortgage payment
Vol 9 Issue 78
Pub: Sept 30, 2011