First it was 10,000 emails to Mel Watt, now the battle over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is heating up even more. Check out the latest below.
Tuesday June 24th, 2014 at 6:00 PM, over 100 Springfield residents and allies will join Jeffery Solivan to fight eviction from his home by Fannie Mae and Mel Watt, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC). Neighbors, members of the Springfield Bank Tenant Association (SBTA), and community, faith & labor organizations, will vigil at 32 Edgemont Street to demand affordable housing for Mr. Solivan and families across the nation. Following a speak out at the house they will march on 6 vacant homes – all owned by banks after foreclosure – in the neighborhood before returning to the house to stage a mock “block shutdown” to demonstrate to Fannie Mae and Mel Watt the type of civil disobedience they plan if a sheriff comes to evict Mr. Solivan.
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Solivan on Fannie Mae
“I would be happy to maintain my home and pay what I can to avoid homelessness,” Mr. Solivan says. “Fannie Mae, as a government-run agency, should turn my home into an affordable rental. But if they choose to evict, I’m ready to fight that eviction.”
Mr. Solivan bought his home in 2007 at the height of the bank created housing bubble. He was employed working at a homeless shelter at the time. In 2008, following the economic collapse, he was let go without explanation leaving him unemployed. Shortly after, Mr. Solivan suffered a heart attack and then was hit by a car in 2012, leaving him unable to work. Like millions of others he now lives on a fixed social security income, which is not enough to be able to afford rising rents in the city or the country.
Since 2008 the two government sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC) have withheld more than $570 million (through 2013) in congressionally mandated funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) that would create and maintain thousands of affordable housing units. A recent report released in June by the Right To The City Alliance called “Rise of the Renter Nation” show that more than 11 million renters now pay more than 50% of their income on housing in the United States, far higher than the 30% figure considered to be “affordable rent.”[i]
“Fannie Mae insists on evicting families like Jeff’s even though refuse to fund the NHTF, and have some of the worse foreclosure related policies in the country,” explains SBTA leader Sue Gamelli. “Turning this home into an affordable rental can be part of the millions Fannie Mae owes the taxpayers.”
Due to state Emergency Shelter regulations passed in 2013, families displaced by foreclosure cannot access shelter. If the eviction proceeds, Mr. Solivan will be left homeless and his home will become the seventh vacant home on his block alone.
“We don’t need more vacant homes on our block,” explains Jacques Fortilus, a neighbor on Edgemont St. “Vacant homes aren’t good for anybody. We all know it opens our neighborhood up to drugs and crime, drops the price of homes, destroys our neighborhood and cost the taxpayers money.”
Across the country, housing and community groups are demanding that Mel Watt suspend all evictions and foreclosures by Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC) until he reviews and changes key policies relating to foreclosure & affordable housing. Mel Watt was appointed to head the FHFA in January, a major victory for grassroots organizations across the country who called on Obama to replace former director Edward DeMarco. However, Watt has thus far remained silent on Fannie and Freddie’s plans for principal reductions, post-foreclosure buy backs and affordable housing funding while families like Jeffery’s are evicted and left on the streets. Watt is expected to release a mandated proposal for affordable housing this July.
“I can’t wait for Mel Watt to make proposals or think about things anymore. Millions of people like me need him to take action now,” says Jeff Solivan.
Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude is a grassroots member-led organization organizing families being evicted by banks after foreclosure to stop no-fault evictions, protest unnecessary foreclosure and build community power to put our communities before profit.