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Occupy DC Helps Grandmother Avoid Eviction, Stay In Her Home

Bernita Jones (Washington Post)

An hour after Occupy DC protesters organized a rally outside Freddie Mac’s offices in downtown Washington, DC yesterday on behalf of a Maryland resident facing eviction, the mortgage giant announced that it had developed plan to keep her in her home.

Bertina Jones, of Prince George’s county, a suburb of DC, was “a perfect example of a woman who was making her payments, and they still foreclosed on her,” said Maryland Legal Aid Bureau’s Vicki King Taitano, who is helping Jones. Jones, a grandmother and accountant, got a mortgage modification in 2009 from Bank of America, “but the bank repeatedly lost the accompanying documents” and Freddie Mac bought the house at 2010 in a foreclosure auction.

Jones has yet to be evicted, however, and Occupy DC rallied to support her after hearing about her case from Taitano. The Washington Post’s Annie Gowen reports:

Jones, who can’t afford a private attorney, said she has been working on her own for months — heading to the law library, making repeated calls and sending e-mails — to try and resolve the situation. It has taken a toll, she said. [...]

After working on her own for so long, she said it was “great” to rally with supporters outside the Freddie Mac government relations offices Monday. The 50 or so Occupier protesters marched in a circle around her, chanting “housing is a right” as she clutched a sign that said “Stop Foreclosures and Evictions Now.”

Occupy protesters across the country have been trying to find a purpose after being evicted from encampments in public parks, and a growing number are finding success with targeted actions like this. Occupy Nashville helped saved the home of civil rights activist Helen Bailey, while activists in Detroit have helped saved at least five homes, and protesters in California camped outside a former Marine’s home to help him fight foreclosure.

Jones’ case also shows how difficult it can be for people to fight mortgage providers — Jones is an accountant who seemed to work hard and do everything right, but still faced eviction. “I’m glad I stood up and fought,” Jones said. “I hope more homeowners will join us. I’m not an icon, I’m just a homeowner trying to save her home.”



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