Laura Schlegel, a mother and active community member in Portage Park, Chicago, is facing eviction by the Cogsville Group, a private equity firm in New York City. The family is one of thousands of families now renting homes owned by massive private equity firms and hedge funds. Capitalizing on the foreclosure crisis, these Wall Street investors have purchased 200,000 homes across the country -- mostly in cities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.
Laura is struggling with chronic pain due to nerve damage and needs to be close to her doctors in Portage Park. She could be evicted any day, and she has nowhere for her, her son and her dogs to go.
Instead of putting them out on the street, the Cogsville Group should at least offer her and her family a new lease that allows them to stay in the home they previously owned.
Why this is important:
As the banks enjoy record-breaking profits and the 1% steal a bigger share of annual income than ever, the 99% have learned that this so-called economic recovery is nothing more than a big fat lie.
Tens of thousands of people are still being evicted each month through foreclosure, and now private equity firms and hedge funds are executing a massive land grab in cities across the country. In some cities, like Phoenix, there are already Wall Street-owned homes on every single block by the hedge fund Blackstone.
These Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms are pretending to help by renting out these vacant houses -- but we know that they are just trying to make more money off the banks of the 99%. One of these private equity firms has even released a new risky security backed by rental payments -- which is just like the mortgage-backed securities that destroyed the economy in 2008.
The story of Laura and her family show how we must stop this land grab and demand that housing be enshrined as a human right, not a means to make a short-term profit.
Laura, her son and 3 small dogs have lived in their Portage Park home for the last seven years. With the help of a partner, she bought the home in 2006 for nearly $400,000. After the market crashed, they attempted to refinance the mortgage. Following the bank’s instructions, Laura and her partner missed three months of their mortgage payments to qualify for a loan modification. But instead of working with the family, Bank of America put the home in foreclosure, using the highly controversial process of “dual tracking” in which banks simultaneously put families in the process of modifying their loans and put the loan in the foreclosure pipeline.
In Laura’s case -- as with so many other homeowners across the country -- the foreclosure process won.
Her home was sold at an auction and bought back by the government-owned mortgage giant Fannie Mae -- which then allowed a private equity firm, The Cogsville Group, to buy the right to manage her house and collect rent from the family. But when her home flooded this past spring, the company did not help her with clean up, mold remediation or repairs.
In efforts to pressure Cogsville to assume responsibility for its property management, Laura’s partner stopped paying the rent. But instead of negotiating under the circumstances, the family received an eviction notice.
Laura and her family are asking that the eviction be dropped, and that the Cogsville Group offer Laura a new lease with an option to buy.
Help us stop Laura’s eviction -- and send a message to Wall Street that they can no longer exploit our human needs for their short term profits!