Protesters to Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae ‘fight, fight, fight for human housing right’

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By: Ashmar Mandou

Nearly two hundred participants including homeowners, supporters of the Housing Justice Movement, and community activists converged at the 3400 block of N. Monitor Avenue to meet with resident Sabrina Morey, a working class mother facing eviction by Freddie Mac over the weekend.

“If it were not for me and my family this property would sit vacant and be subject to vandalism and deterioration,” said Morey. “If nothing can be done to help us, I demand that our home be donated by Freddie Mac to the Casas del Pueblo Community Land Trust.”

The Centro Autónomo of Albany Park/Casas del Pueblo Community Land Trust, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, Occupy Homes Minnesota, and Detroit Eviction Defense combined efforts to demand that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the federal overseer for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issue a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures. Over 120 people participated in the action, including 35 current homeowners that are facing foreclosure, eviction, or occupying a vacant home like Morey.

After participants gathered at Morey’s home, yellow buses arrived to take participants to the home of Freddie Mac Regional Director Peter Giles in River Forest. The crowd chanted, “fight, fight, fight because housing is a human right.”

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has control over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which together are the owners of more than half the real estate owned (REO) homes in the nation. “Most of these homes sit vacant in our neighborhoods and it is time for the FHFA to create policies that force Fannie and Freddie to give back these homes to the community and create affordable housing,” said Morey. “We will not stop until our homes our safe.” Members of Centro Autónomo of Albany Park and Casas del Pueblo Community Land Trust intend to visit the homes of board members, executives of banks, and members of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHFA.

Newly-appointed FHFA Director Mel Watt is currently promoting the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), a loan modification program. Director Watt has implemented the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative (NSI) in Detroit, but there is no set date to implement a similar program in Chicago or any other city.

“We want the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative (NSI) program to come to Chicago and Minneapolis. And while we are waiting, we want a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures at least until the NSI program is ready to come to the rest of the cities in the nation that still have a housing crisis,” said Martha Biggs of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign.

At the end of the protest, participants chanted “we’ll be back.” Antonio Gutierrez, one of the organizers, stated “we will keep coming back until policies are changed, until all foreclosures and evictions are stopped, until people like Sabrina Morey who are taking are of homes that would otherwise sit vacant get to keep their homes.”

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