Patricia Daniels has returned to her foreclosed home and is fighting back. Like many homeowners, the bank is giving her the runaround after she tried to work with them to modify her loan. More and more people are finding that the banks don’t want to work with homeowners; they just want their homes. Patricia is not having it. After all, this is the home she grew up in and that her mother, a single mother of 4, worked so hard to pay for.
The house is located in the heavily gentrified NE Alberta neighborhood. At the time she and her brother inherited the house, the neighborhood was undergoing a transformation. For many African American families, that transformation was at the cost of their homes and community. Patricia and her brother managed to hold on to their house, but it was in desperate need of repairs.
Before the recession many people were refinancing, and although Patricia and her brother qualified for better loans, many lenders were steering African American borrowers away from these good opportunities. Instead, to make the needed repairs on their house, Patricia and her brother were only able to get a loan whose payments would balloon, going up to unmanageable levels after a short period of time. Her original lender was Accredited Home Lenders, a top lender of the notoriously predatory “subprime” mortgages, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Patricia’s lender made promises that she could refinance after a year’s time, before the balloon payments arrived. But those promises weren’t kept. Patricia was never able to get the refinancing she needed to make the loan affordable.
A few years passed and the banks crashed the economy. Patricia continued to find it nearly impossible to refinance. She would contact the bank, only to find that her lender had sold her loan to another lender. When she finally got hold of someone, the terms for the modification required all missed payments paid in full, plus there was no guarantee that the new terms would be permanent.
She also applied and sought relief from a Federal program designed to help struggling homeowners. But the program required the lender or Trustee to negotiate honestly to alter the terms of the mortgage. Unfortunately, her loan was sold as a series of mortgage-backed securities to multiple investors. This made it nearly impossible to negotiate with anyone since it was owned by several investors. This was the infamous “slice and dice” that created those “toxic assets” of the crash. Patricia was backed into a corner; the home went into foreclosure. It’s clear now that the banks manipulated the terms of mortgages, and as a result homeowners were unable to negotiate with anyone who actually had a real stake in the mortgage.
Worn out by the bank refusing to negotiate with her in good faith and afraid of being put on the street by the sheriff, Patricia felt she had no option but to self-evict. This happened before she learned about other homeowners in her neighborhood who were refusing to leave or moving back into their homes. These homeowners were organizing to resist eviction and force the banks to work with them because it didn’t seem right for the banks to be rewarded for their bad business practices at the cost of real families and homes. Patricia has joined their ranks.
On September 29, 2012 she moved back into her home. There were nearly a hundred supporters on her front yard helping her move furniture and standing beside her as the news crews came and interviewed her.
“I’ve told my board of directors at my job, my family and my friends, that I’m fighting to save my house and have a home for my family.” said Patricia.
Homeowners like Patricia need your support. Join the fight for housing justice by signing up for our Rapid Response Team. The Rapid Response Team will show up at a moment’s notice to support homeowners who are being evicted. You can sign by sending this text message @ploc-openrm to the number 23559.
UPDATE Monday October 15:
On Sunday, October 14 about 100 community members and neighbors moved Patricia and Darren back into their home! They tried to get the bank to work with them after Patricia fell ill and had to take a medical early retirement. They called the bank before they ever missed a payment and the bank just strung them along. They are fighting a company that both foreclosed on them and sold their house to itself after refusing to work with them and loosing their paperwork. The representative of the company is coming to their house today to make sure they have moved out and they are going to let them know they are not moving. They need community support to deliver that message at 2:45pm today! Stand with Patricia and Darren to say no to home poachers!
Where: 12028 SE Pardee St., PDX (near 122nd and Holgate)
When: Today, Monday October 15th, 2:45pm
Additional questions contact: Angela 503-593-2697
We are Oregon was originally launched by Oregon’s SEIU Locals 49 and 503, with the intention of broadening the fight on issues that affect working class Oregonians beyond the workplace, and into the communities hit hardest by the current economic crisis.
We’re fighting for a fair economy, where working class people have a voice in our own future, and in how our own communities are run. We see the current economy as inherently unfair, because the priorities of banks, corporations and the rich take precedence in almost every situation over the needs of our families and communities.
For more information, visit We Are Oregon.