In support of homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction in NYC, members of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and other community groups will conduct vibrant singing protests and raise the people’s voices at foreclosure auctions in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx next week, with the aim to: disrupt the sale of people’s homes and the eviction of their occupants; call for a moratorium on all foreclosures; demand justice for all New Yorkers struggling for affordable housing; confront Wall Street’s unchecked power to put profits over people’s right to housing.
MONDAY, April 16th, 2pm
Bronx Supreme Court, Rm 600. 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Who: Organizing for Occupation (O4O), OWS
THURSDAY, April 19th, 3pm
Kings County Supreme Court, 360 Adams St, Brooklyn
Who: Occupy Faith, Catholic Worker, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
FRIDAY, April 20th, 11am
Queens Supreme Court, 8811 Sutphin Boulevard, Queens
Who: Occupy Queens, Columbia Univ students, Occupy the New School
Everyone has the right to live freely, securely, peacefully and with dignity in his or her home. In the US there are over three times as many “people-less” homes as home-less people. Financial institutions have stripped individuals and communities of their savings and property while receiving $7.7 Trillion in taxpayer bail-outs.
“At the same time that banks are getting bailed out, rental assistance programs are being reduced–even completely eliminated,” says housing rights activist and organizer Blair Ellis. “Empty buildings fill New York City boroughs, while those in need of housing are forgotten by our economic and political system. Those lucky enough to remain in their homes are increasingly burdened with the escalating cost of rent and mortgage loans. This American Dream is becoming a nightmare for millions of the middle class and poor people.”
There are over 100,000 homes in foreclosure in New York State due to subprime and predatory loans; now New Yorkers with “fair” (or “prime”) loans are also missing payments and falling into foreclosure because of unemployment, under-employment and mounting healthcare costs among other issues.
“We can create meaningful, community based solutions to keep people in their homes and return land in our communities back to the people who live in them,” says Heath Madom, a local housing rights advocate. “We look forward to the day when all bank-owned property—occupied and vacant—is returned to community control and made permanently affordable.”
Where the system has failed the people and upheld the bank’s rights to profit:
The big banks were bailed out first under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and again in the recent settlement brokered by NY Attorney General Schneiderman. TARP gave the big banks the money they needed to stay afloat and, in return, left to the banks’ discretion whether to foreclose on families’ homes or sell the homes at auction. Schneiderman’s settlement is a slap on the wrist that gives the banks blanket immunity for widespread fraud in exchange for providing some, but not all, ailing homeowners no more than $2,000 in assistance.
New York’s “Settlement Conferences” are a massive failure because banks won’t agree to affordable loan modiﬁcations and the federal Home Affordable Modiﬁcation Program (HAMP) gives the same banks we bailed out with our tax dollars the discretion to modify loans or auction off homes. They would rather auction them off.
Watch the October 13th rendition of “Listen Auctioneer” at the Brooklyn foreclosure auction blockade below. This one is heartbreaking. The protesters of the foreclosure sing "Listen, Auctioneer, all the people here (right here, right now), Are asking you to hold off the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how. Listen Auctioneer, all the people here are asking you to hold off the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how..."
Then they are all handcuffed, arrested, and escorted out by police.