Thursday, June 07, 2012, Bloomington, MN-- Before the plates were cleared from the luncheon, Freddie Mac trainers and dozens of conference attendees were startled by a group of Occupy Homes protesters who taped off the entrance and plywooded the doors to their scheduled "Default Servicing Workshop."
A dozen protesters chanted in call-and-response: "This is a crime scene, and Freddie Mac is the criminal. They have been conspiring with PNC Bank and countless others to profit off of families getting thrown out of their homes." Yellow caution tape reading "occupy" was unrolled, emulating the pitched confrontations Minneapolis police have had at the Cruz family home on Cedar Ave in recent weeks.
"We demand that you work with PNC Bank to get the Cruz family in their home," protesters cheered. As Marriott hotel security escorted the protesters out, they chanted "Eviction stops here!"
The Cruz family fell behind on payments during tough economic times. According to Occupy activist Nick Espinosa, the bank failed to withdraw an online payment due to a glitch in its own system. Instead it demanded a multiple-month payment, and when the Cruz family was unable to oblige, the home went into foreclosure. Recently, the family and protesters have grabbed headlines by repeatedly blocking the sheriff's eviction, resulting in 23 arrests and massive MPD force to secure the modest home.
Freddie Mac, which owns the title to scores of foreclosed homes like the Cruz home, visited the Twin Cities region to host a week-long training for its servicers to help them manage through the housing recession and, according to the event's web site, "avoid preventable foreclosure."
"If Freddie Mac is committed to avoiding preventable foreclosure, they need to work with families like the Cruzes who can afford to pay their mortgage," said Cat Salonek, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. "Freddie Mac and PNC have the power to return the Cruz family home today."