Minneapolis Mayor Implies City Stepping Away From Helping Banks With Evictions

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak issued a statement implying the city is getting out of the foreclosure/eviction business, but it’s unclear what that means to families fighting to keep their homes from banks.

Mayor Rybak and Minneapolis Council Member Elizabeth Glidden issued a joint statement saying, “We call on all housing lenders, both public and private, to accept full responsibility for managing foreclosed properties and for preventing foreclosures through broader and more aggressive actions.”

Glidden had come to the steps of City Hall about a half hour earlier to meet with the Occupy Homes activists. She said that she and the mayor had held almost continual meetings with the lenders and others involved and that the Mayor was on the phone at that time with Freddie Mac, the agency involved with the Cruz family eviction and sheriff sale. She was credited by insiders to be responsible for pressuring the Mayor to contact Freddie Mac.

There had been three sheriff and police actions at the home culminating with boarding up the Cruz home late on May 28.At that time Police Chief Dolan said, “We’re done with this job.” It wasn’t clear if he meant just the Cruz home or the job of other foreclosures. In any event, the police monitored the house over night and then this morning (May 30) arrested an Occupy person who was in the house. When Gliden was asked if she knew about this raid in advance she said no.

The release went on to say, “It has become sadly too common for us to see our neighbors losing their homes. This human tragedy is made worse when we forget the effect on families who feel lost in a sea of confusing red tape and bureaucratic hurdles.

“Cities do not have the resources to provide private security for landlords, whether it’s Freddie Mac or any other mortgage holder. These lending institutions, public or private, cannot foreclose numerous properties and then just expect local police departments to manage the consequences.”

Full text of joint statement:

Mayor R.T. Rybak and Council Member Elizabeth Glidden issued a joint statement today:

“It has become sadly too common for us to see our neighbors losing their homes. This human tragedy is made worse when we forget the effect on families who feel lost in a sea of confusing red tape and bureaucratic hurdles.

We must also remember that cities don’t foreclose homes; banks do. Increasingly, cities and municipalities are being expected to do things that they are not equipped to handle, either legally or financially.

Cities do not have the resources to provide private security for landlords, whether it’s Freddie Mac or any other mortgage holder. These lending institutions, public or private, cannot foreclose numerous properties and then just expect local police departments to manage the consequences.

Cities are also not set up to judge each individual potential foreclosure situation to determine how much mortgage terms should be adjusted to keep people in their homes – or foreclosed if that is not possible.

This is the work of the housing lenders. Only they have the necessary expertise and resources to deal with their mortgages and their foreclosures.

Their failure to do so harms cities and increases costs to city budgets across the nation. Their failure also affects neighbors. It diminishes livability, decreases values, and promotes blight.

We are increasingly concerned by the direct and indirect costs to our neighborhoods.

We call on all housing lenders, both public and private, to accept full responsibility for managing foreclosed properties and for preventing foreclosures through broader and more aggressive actions.”

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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