Occupy Our Homes’ becomes nationwide movement
By Eric T Campbell
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — A coalition of over 100 activists from Moratorium NOW, People Before Banks and Occupy Detroit rallied outside the near-east side home of Kyra Williams on Dec. 6.
Williams has been in court for two years arguing that the agreement she made with her landlord allows her to stay in her home despite him going into foreclosure on the property.
Without her knowledge and despite making timely payments, Williams’ landlord defaulted on the mortgage with lender, CitiMortgage who began foreclosure proceedings in 2009. Williams received notice of an eviction hearing on Dec. 21, 2009.
“I’ve been paying an extra 25 percent every month toward purchasing the home. Without my knowledge the home went into foreclosure. I haven’t seen the landlord, so I went to fight,” Williams told the Michigan Citizen.
Her attorney, Vanessa Fluker, says Williams’ case is unique because she is not the borrower. Fluker says CitiMortgage announced it would negotiate with Williams for the purchase of the house. Fluker says she doesn’t know whether the lender would have been so amicable without the pressure that activists have provided.
“The majority of these foreclosure cases are egregious and unconscionable,” Fluker says. “She was totally blindsided; she didn’t know the home was in foreclosure. She found out about it when she received an eviction notice from 36th District Court.
According to Moratorium NOW!, since 2006 the city of Detroit has lost 250,000 people to foreclosures and evictions because of the actions of major banks.
Activists across the country have formed a movement called Occupy Our Homes to challenge unjust evictions and pressure President Obama to enact a two-year moratorium on home foreclosures.
“I just think it’s horrible that you have a bona fide purchaser here, someone that’s already in the house, that’s willing to pay the fair market value, and you would rather just toss them out in the street and let there be another vacant, vandalized or demolished home rather than work with them,” Fluker said.