National Campaign Highlights Homeowners Difficulty with Freddie Mac

“This needs to stop,” declared Alejandra Cruz as she, her brother David and a group of Occupy Homes activists gathered on a warm Sunday afternoon at their foreclosed home in South Minneapolis. They’re asking Freddie Mac to stop foreclosing on homeowners and work with them to modify the loan on their house.

The Cruz family has been embroiled in an Occupy Homes battle to save their home from foreclosure for the last four months. They received word from PNC Bank that a deal was in the works to modify their mortgage earlier this year. Freddie Mac, who owns the loan, will not grant a modification. This came after their home went into foreclosure after an alleged payment didn’t go through online.

According to one Occupy Homes activist, Freddie Mac has a policy of never selling a home back to the original homeowner when it’s in the foreclosure process. This was confirmed by a representative from Freddie Mac representative Brad German.

Numerous protests ensued with multiple arrests being made and a campaign to try and reclaim the Cruz home. Eventually, Freddie Mac placed private security at the home, boarded up the windows and warned activists to stay away from the home.

Despite probation violation for some activists and a visit by the Minneapolis Police Department, Occupy Homes kicked off another awareness campaign deemed the, “Fannie Freddie 99″. They will travel to Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and other cities to highlight more homeowners fighting Freddie Mac for the right to a new loan.

“We are going to go there and let them know what’s wrong with our family trying to obtain our home back,” said Alejandra Cruz.

Anthony Newby of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) and Occupy Homes says that there is a cash buyer for the home waiting in the wings. Freddie Mac, he alleges, refuses to sell it. Kevin Whelan of the Home Defenders League says that both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are going beyond what he considers to be, “smart business”.

“It would make more sense for business, more sense for the bank, more sense for the family to stay in their home. They’re really pursuing this radical agenda of wanting to take homes and sell them en masse at large discounts to the very people who caused the financial crisis,” says Whelan.

The “Fannie Freddie 99″ campaign will spotlight families like the Cruz’s in Minneapolis who have been foreclosed and are trying to work with Freddie Mac to obtain a new loan. Groups will be holding protests in Milwaukee and Detroit as well as on both coasts.

“Despite being taxpayer owned, it’s become painfully clear that Freddie Mac is the primary obstacle preventing the Cruz family from returning to their home,” said Anthony Newby of Occupy Homes MN. “Under the helm of Edward DeMarco they have denied principal reduction to over 15 million homeowners and refused to work with those in foreclosure, all while using public money to carry out costly evictions. The American people deserve better and we’re demanding that policy change starts today.”

Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera, originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif.,  studied media and Spanish at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she earned her bachelor s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, she has been a news producer for KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's arts series MN Original, and producer for the Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radios Stations for the series MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds.

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