Jennifer Britt of Detroit’s Rosedale Park is like thousands of homeowners pushed to foreclosure by economic disaster and personal loss. Financial difficulties occurred about 6 years ago when Jennifer's husband was killed by a drunk driver as he was crossing the street near his home. Jennifer assumed the moragage payments but the bank, Flagstar Bank, refused to negotiate the debt since the morgage was only in her husband's name. Jennifer exhausted her life savings and paid Flagstar more than $45,000 to keep her home after the death of her husband and the loss of her job, but Flagstar refused to modify the mortgage and foreclosed. Jennifer is working again, but Flagstar has sold the mortgage to Fannie Mae, with taxpayers footing the bill. Eviction is imminent.
Occupy will distribute flyers reminding festival goers that Flagstar is not a “community bank,” but is owned and controlled by Matlin Patterson of New York, a “Vulture Investor,” as Forbes Magazine describes it. Flagstar has confessed to mortgage fraud and has not paid back the taxpayer bailout it was gifted in 2009. It should take back the mortgage and modify the loan to keep Jennifer and her family in their home.
Evictions play a crucial role in the devastating visual landscape of Detroit's inner city. Vacant, crumbling structures destroy neighborhoods, property values plummet, neighboring homes are put at risk by the threat of arson and other criminal activity. Jennifer's story is not unique. Unfortunately, there are many Detroit residents facing home foreclosure and eviction.