To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#campbell
New video highlights fight for justice for Ms. Campbell
Help us tell Flagstar Bank: Stop trying to evict Barbara Campbell!
Stay tuned for coming actions
Dozens of protesters have picketed several Flagstar branches to support Ms. Campbell.
|Photo by Jim West|
As Barbara Campbell fights to survive one medical disaster after another -- cancer, heart surgery, loss of kidney function and 3 strokes -- Flagstar Bank is trying to evict her from her Detroit home. Now, after many promises that it wouldn't do so, the bank is moving to evict Ms. Campbell, who's a former director of the Girl Scouts.
Wheelchair-bound woman facing eviction was tricked into thinking mortgage was being modified
As a medical hardship case, Ms. Campbell clearly qualifies for the mortgage modification she applied for in 2013. The bank servicer told her that she could stop paying during the modification review -- & then suddenly foreclosed on herfor nonpayment. Flagstar had also promised Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence it wouldn't do so.
This is the same type of action that brought Flagstar before the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau in 2014 for "illegally blocking borrowers' attempts to save their homes." Flagstar paid $37 million in penalties, and promised to stop denying loan modifications to qualified homeowners. Flagstar claims to be a Michigan-based "community" bank, but is actually owned by a New York company that Forbes Magazine described as a "Vulture Investor," known for "picking the bones of crumbling companies."
Help press Flagstar bank to stop eviction
Please dcheck for current actions in the left column, and call Flagstar and Fannie Mae. Go to this page for phone numbers.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#celebration2016
Major challenge to foreclosure injustice!
Rights groups Sue Wayne County
to end racially biased tax foreclosures
On Wed. July 13, The ACLU and the NAACP dannounced that they're filing a big class-action lawsuit against the Wayne County Treasurer, Wayne County and the City of Detroit to challenge illegal, racially discriminatory tax foreclosures that have pummeled African- American homeowners in recent years.
City & County blasted for creating 'human catastrophe'
“Wayne County and Detroit are creating a human catastrophe by tossing thousands of homeowners into the streets for inability to pay unlawfully assessed taxes,” said Michael J. Steinberg, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. “This short-sighted practice not only violates federal law, it destabilizes families, destroys neighborhoods and undermines the economic recovery of the region.” The lawsuit, brought on behalf of seven Detroit homeowners and a coalition of neighborhood associations from throughout the city, alleges that the Wayne County Treasurer is preparing to seize the homes of thousands of county homeowners because they failed to pay taxes that they should never have been assessed.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#shannon
Jennette Shannon & son kicked out of home by vicious investor
Crowd of supporters turned away bailiff and dumpsters twice, until she & son were removed. Such outrages against Detroiters must stop!
On June 3, 2016, after a courageous three-year battle against Thor Real Estate, Jennette Shannon and her sixteen-year-old son were coldly evicted by a small army of bailiff, police, and dumpster-demolition workers.
Jeannette was supported by neighbors who remembered how she had watched over them and several times reported atempted break-ins to the corner drug store. One eviction Defense supporter had his leg broken when a dumpster driver lashed out at the crowd.
'Vulture investor' preys on hundreds
Jennette & son not only lost their Detroit home, longtime neighborhood, and most of their belongings. Thor swindled Jennette out of over $21,000 in the process. Thor is a rip-off. Forbes magazine has called Thor a "vulture investor." Thor continues to prey on hundreds of other Detroit homeowners, and has done in the same in Cleveland.
Jennette is not alone in having her home stolen out from under her by Thor Real Estate. But she is remarkable in her steadfast willingness to fight for what's right, organizing alongside hundreds of friends and neighbors to resist her eviction. Let's not leave her alone now! She and her teenage son are living day-to-day, faced with the stress of uncertainty and having to start over with almost nothing.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#celebration2016
|Jerry Cullors stressed that when people need help: "We will be there for you. You're never by yourself. Get over that! You are not by yourself!"|
Celebration of struggle & victories
Four years of Detroit Eviction Defense
By Miriam Pickens
On Saturday, April 16, Detroit Eviction Defense celebrated our last four years. We divided up the list of people we had worked with in the past, wins and losses, and invited each person, family or groups of families personally. This list numbered 47, and included multiple groups; for example, the Gratiot-McDougall victory won back 15 homes.
Some of the losses are heartbreaking. For example, one person we worked with was unable to save her home and is now in a homeless shelter. This shows the serious nature of the work we do.
'People I never knew came to save my home & life'
More than 100 people came out, ate and drank and conversed. The program was people telling their stories: open mic, 3 minute limit. We heard from about 15 different people:
"Stay in your house! You can win this!... For the first time in my life, I was confronted with institutional racism... People I never knew came to save my home and my life... You won't believe this, but I was afraid to talk... Solidarity is what this is, we stand together...
"The politicians don't help us, the government attacks us, we have to depend on ourselves... We are building community. "
Building the new world within the old
Students from Bonnie Halloran's University of Michigan-Dearborn class created poster art and table decorations from old leaflets and posters. Carmen created a photo and memorabilia exhibit that stood in the lobby. Street theater posters we used in a demonstration against the banks stood prominently against the back wall. Posters from past demonstrations were on the walls as well.
In fact, we are building the new world within the old, finding different ways to relate to each other, to care for each other, to trust each other and fight together. There was much love and respect in that room Saturday night, and it was good to be a part of it.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#taxevictions2016
19,000 Detroit families still face tax eviction
Process is unjust! Tax foreclosures must be stopped
At the beginning of the year more than 30,000 occupied Wayne County homes faced tax foreclosure, and at least 19,000 Detroiters are still in danger of losing their homes to tax foreclosure. Why?
Overblown tax asessments
Detroit property taxes are over-assessed and have been for years. The City recognizes that, but its plan to adjust assessments is too little too late, and there is no relief for those who were charged unaffordable taxes based on past jacked-up assessments.
Federal money to help families is instead used for demolitions
Federal Funds for "Step Forward" that were supposed to be used to keep people in their homes are being diverted to tear down homes.
Those who fall behind charged predatory interest rates
An 18% yearly interest is added to the property tax—We know of people who had their homes auctioned off even when they paid their taxes because they did not realize a fee had been tacked on to their bill!
Debts from water bills are now also tacked onto tax bills
People in economic distress are denied their legal right to tax exemptions
The right to get a so-called Poverty tax exemption is one of Detroit's best-kept secrets. As a result, the people being kicked our of their homes are often the most vulnerable, including long-term elderly residents on fixed incomes and those with extreme disabilities. Once people end up on the foreclosure list because of the city's negligence to tell them their rights, they're stuck there.
People who have trouble reading or whose first language is not English are also left in the dark.
We are helping families demand that the city, county and state governments stop this predatory taxation. Giving priority to developers and corporations over Detroiters must stop.
Lack of jobs in the city, high water bills and shutoffs along with the state takeover of Detroit schools have destabilized this majority African-American city. Is the city to be handed over to developers without a fight?
We urge people to get help now (see column to the left), make sure they aren't being scammed by deceptive lease agreements, and stay in their homes, even after foreclosure, to reach out to Eviction Defense, and come to our Thursday meeting (see left column).
For coming events, swipe to right.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#whitfield
Lela Whitfield wins tough battle for her home!
|"Whitfield's problem began in 2005, when her mother fell prey to one of the mortgage industry's most notorious types of loan — the reverse mortgage," explains a Detroit Free Press article featuring her eviction fight. Read it here.|
After a grueling two-year legal battle and Eviction Defense support campaign, Lela Whitfield's fight for her home was down to the wire -- Fannie Mae asked the court for an eviction order n Nov. 13. But Fannie Mae's request struck Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller as so unreasonable that she delayed signing the writ to "see if we can't work something out so that [Lela] stays in her home and Fannie Mae doesn't have another vacant property in Detroit."
The Judge recognized the 16 people in the courtroom supporting Lela, and two reporters were taking notes. Ms. Whitfield did an excellent job presenting her case -- that she was willing and able to buy back her home at its market value. More about Lela's fight for her home.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#stephens
Kept bank from evicting 93-year-old Mom
Denise and Bernard were determined to fight the unfair eviction case against her 93-year old mother and win back the family home lost to a bank's unjust foreclosure action. Now the bank has finally sold them back their home at a price they can afford, and they took possession of the deed on March 11, 2016.
|Our Oct. 29 picket pressured the bank.|
When the Stephens finally got the court case dismissed last fall, it was a key turning point in their seven-year battle to save the home that Denise's parents, Mr. and Ms. Stephens, bought in 1968.
"We are David going up against Goliath but remember David won the battle!!" said Denise, who also gave "Thanks to Detroit Eviction Defense for all you do."
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens raised their three daughters, including Denise, in this home. Their troubles started after Mrs. Stephens tried to get a loan modification on her mortgage. The bank agreed only if Denise assumed the mortgage , which she did. The bank foreclosed anyhow. The Stephens family won that case through the Foreclosure Review process.
Then the family launched their campaign to buy the house back. A group had picketed a branch of the bank on October, 2014, and supporters kept calling the bank to urge it to accept a reasonable offer. Finally it did!
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#sanders
A group visited the investor's management company to get them to sell Ms. Sanders back her home.
80-year-old Detroit woman wins back home lost to confusion over tax fees
Campaign convinces California investor to return Detroit home for little more than what he paid at tax auction
With support from Detroit Eviction Defense, Mary Jones-Sanders has bought back her home from a California investor who had planned to profit from it.
|Ms. Sanders & granddaughter Kelly|
Because Ms. Sanders is living on a fixed income, she should have gotten a poverty tax exemption for the Detroit home she's lived in for 40 years. But no one told her about it. Eventually she scraped together enough money to pay the taxes. Her home was sold at the fall, 2015 tax auction anyhow, because she didn't realize she also owed $600 in fees.
It was snapped up by California investor Chris Meyer for $2300. He at first insisted she'd have to pay six times that amount to get her home back.
Ann Arbor visit changed his mind
On Feb. 3 we protested at the investor's management company in Ann Arbor, winning news coverage on Michigan Public Radio. Within days, he agreed to sell Ms. Sanders back her home at a price she can manage. United Community Housing Coalition immediately offered her a loan to buy the house, and Eviction Defense expects to host a fundraising event to help her with the payments.
Our elders are being victimized
Any Detroiter over 65 and in financial difficulty should immediately be handed the poverty exemption paperwork. How many long-time residents are kicked out of their homes because the city and county fail to tell people about this option?
Fannie Mae yields to pressure, gives stage four cancer patient chance to buy family home of 35 years
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#gratiotMcdougall
|Lawyer Vanessa Fluker snaps a picture of Gratiot-McDougall activists at event where they thanked her. "We couldn't have made it without you," Ann Talley told her. "I never would have protested anything." Kellie Henderson, Tisha Smith & Shernell Stafford are also seen celebrating their victory.|
Gratiot McDougall families celebrate victory! Developer sells homes to non-profit
After years of fighting to save their homes in the courts and the community, the 15 Gratiot McDougall families threatened with eviction by developer Peter Barclae are finally winning the right to buy their homes.
|Ann Talley grins as developer Peter Barclae signs closing documents selling all Gratiot McDougall homes to United Community Housing Coalition.|
Barclae had turned his back on the promises he originally made to the families when they moved into their homes in Detroit's Gratiot-McDougall area near Eastern Market. But he finally gave in to years of pressure and agreed to sell all 15 homes to United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC), the Detroit non-profit that will sell the homes to the families.
Congrats to all who helped them win
They picketed Barclae's business properties, joined rallies and fundraisers, and packed city council, court and mayoral meetings. They made phone calls urging Barclae to settle and contributed to UCHC to help them buy the homes.
One of the many small victories that paved the way came after a rainy-day picket in 2014 at the Pontiac offices of Midas Development-- the Singapore company that Barclae had convinced to market the homes to US and foreign investors. The protests put an end to that!
But the real key to victory was the amazing way the families held together through all the pressure, kept the faith, and refused to give up.
On April 27, before a group of Eviction Defense supporters, District Court Judge David Perkins dismissed Barclae’s latest motion to evict the families, and negotiations finally started. 29 people also stood up for Gratiot McDougall families At March 6 Circuit Court hearing.
Then in May the Gratiot McDougall families and Detroit Eviction defense held a successful barbecue-fundraiser to raise funds to fight any appeal.
|See Detroit Free Press article on our Sept. 30 demonstration at HUD offices.|
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#ryan
Tenants at Ryan Court Apartments fight unjust evictions
Rehab project turned into nightmare by developer
Dozens of tenants at Ryan Court Apartments -- many of them single moms, seniors and people with disabilities -- are facing eviction through no fault of their own. Ryan Court is subsidized housing in Detroit's Dexter/Davison neighborhood. Its new owners, American Community Developers, Inc., won more than $1.1 million in federal tax credits to rehab 72 units at Ryan Court, in a project approved by HUD. By law, the developers should work with the tenants on the rehab project and if any tenants have to move, they're supposed to get at least one year's advance notice and Housing Choice Vouchers to help with the move.
But American Community Developers is instead trying to stampede dozens of tenants out of their apartments with no respect for their rights. Many are being kicked out for made-up reasons, like having a pet when the tenant doesn't have a pet or having a dirty refrigerator when the refrigerator is clean.
Ryan Court tenants are organizing to defend their homes against the developers, and winning community support. A Sept. 30 protest demanded answers to the question: How does HUD just stand by and watch this happen?
In Dec. 2015, evictions were dismissed for all 21 Ryan Court tenants who fought them in court! Find 0ut more.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#dnews
At last: Someone's talking out loud about Detroit Foreclosure Crisis & its causes
Detroit News series reveals shocking facts:
More than 1 in 3 Detroit properties foreclosed on
The Detroit News took a hard look at the real causes of blight and hardship in Detroit with an excellent series, that can be found here. It starts by revealing facts like these:
Detroit has had more homes foreclosed in the past 10 years than the total number of houses in all of Buffalo, New York.
Since 2005, more than 1-in-3 Detroit properties — 139,699 of 384,672 — have been foreclosed. The vast majority are houses. That's more than the total number of houses in the suburbs Warren, Livonia, Royal Oak, Southfield and Allen Park.
76 percent of the 84,000 properties on the city's blight list are foreclosures.
Wayne County Treasury officials plan to foreclose on another 28,545 city properties for nonpayment of taxes at online auctions this fall. About 10,000 are occupied.
Citywide, lenders sold foreclosed homes for an average $10,500, nearly $30,000 less than city assessors believed they were worth... The average foreclosed home in Detroit had an $83,000 mortgage.
Why have our leaders done nothing to stop this crisis? Hint: Dan Gilbert, the powerful downtown landowner who leads the city's blight task force, also runs Quicken Loans, the fifth biggest foreclosing company - and half the properties it foreclosed on are now blighted. Read more.
Read also Mother Jones magazine article: Detroit Just Had the Single Largest Tax Foreclosure in American History
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#tfjune8
Homeowners fight eviction
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#sims
Marie Sims wins fight to regain home
Fannie Mae had ignored her right to rebuy home & sold it to someone else
In October 2014, Marie Sims couldn't make her inflated mortgage payments, and her Detroit home went into foreclosure.
The federally-owned Fannie Mae mortgage company bought it at a sheriff’s sale. Marie knew she had the right to buy her home back and made an offer of $5000. But instead Fannie Mae sold it for just $3600 to a man who wanted to evict her.
She fought back and in April, she bought the home back at a fair price.
Lisa Boudreaux gets back her home after Freddie Mac tried to evict her
When the family home that Lisa Boudreaux grew up in was foreclosed on and taken over by Freddie Mac, she was determined to fight the planned eviction. She did, and she just won. She is now secure in her home. Here is her story.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#GPprotest
Group protests near office of local manager trying to evict Brinkley-Combs
'Have you no shame?'
On April 21, a local group marched past the home office of Blackbird Asset Management. Blackbird is working for the distant investor who's trying to evict Brinkley and Combs from Detroit. The police were called but quickly agreed the group has every right to protest and drove off.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#dexter
Freddie Mac was set to evict in November, but finally gave in to pressure
A powerful video by Detroit Eviction Defense was part of the pressure that finally shamed this federally-owned mortgage company into halting its senseless drive to evict this family in November. Read about Dexter's courageous stand.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#fanniepr
Feds tell Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac to sell families their homes back at real value!
|See video of Senator Warren blasting Mel Watt for his inaction even after millions of families lost their homes.|
Families now in foreclosure should finally get chance to buy back their homes
With little fanfare, the government finally announced a new policy that should give thousands of families who lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis a chance to buy their homes back at their real market value. See news release. People who bought homes before housing prices crashed (often victimized by proven bank fraud) have been stuck with mortgages worth many times what their homes would sell for today.
As millions of folks who got behind on the inflated payments are foreclosed on, the banks dump their debts onto the federally-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which now control nearly two out of three of the nation's mortgages. Yet for years Fannie and Freddie stubbornly refused to adjust inflated mortgage values so families could save their homes. It instead spends millions to evict them and then either leaves their homes to be trashed by strippers or sells them at huge discounts to new buyers.
The wounds of that policy are scarring communities across the nation. Eviction Defense and other groups have vigorously called for change – See how we greeted Fannie/Freddy's director Mel Watt when he came to Detroit. Senator Elizabeth Warren also blasted him for his inaction.
Now that change has finally been announced, the key is to make sure people know their new rights , insist on them in courtrooms across the nation, and press for future principle reduction.
See our report on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac: A Hurricane without Water
Tax auction & foreclosure news
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#burkeswin
Detroiters fight to save homes from past tax foreclosures
As developers & slumlords take control of our neighborhoods
Daryl and Lula Burke (left) are lifelong Detroiters who just won back their home after a tough struggle they never should have had to fight. They had become victims of tax foreclosure after Daryl, a Vietnam veteran, became gravely ill and didn't get the support he was promised from the Veteran Affairs Dept. How they won.
|Russell Woods community leaders convinced Channel 4 news to expose how tax foreclosure looms over an 85-year-old long-time resident.|
Neighborhood pushed to stop tax foreclosure
The Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association pressed the Detroit City Council to back its important “Stop the Foreclosures” resolution that could well be a model for other neighborhoods. Read & download it.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#hardhit
|Photo by Valerie Jean|
Get $251 million in 'Helping Hardest Hit' funds to families facing tax foreclosure!
April Protest targeted misuse of funds
The Feds have sent the State of Michigan $498 million in Helping Hardest Hit Homeowner funds "to help homeowners who are at high risk of default or foreclosure.”
Yet even as Michigan's worst-ever tax foreclosure crisis threatens to push tens of thousands of families out of their homes, the State has spent less than $2 of every $5 of that money to aid homeowners. Yet $49 million was spent on blight removal and "administrative expenses."
The remaining $251 million could tackle the tax disaster and save our communities, says Moratorium Now, which called the protest. It says the State wants to "illegally" use $173 million for “blight removal" and to pay bureaucrats, leaving just $79 million to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
For more information: Moratorium Now Coalition, 313-680-5508.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#taxesjudge
On Feb. 18 & 19:
Judge okayed tax foreclosures on thousands families
"Scavenger companies [are] coming into town, buying up properties at foreclosure auctions, and using whatever they can – illegal evictions, tricks and just mass court filings to get people out of their homes.
"No one has really seen anything like it."
Colombo refused to consider hardships & excessive taxes of hundreds who came to object
Several hundred people who had signed objections to having their homes put into tax foreclosure filed into Wayne County Chief Judge Colombo's Courtroom on Feb. 18 and 19. Many told the Judge they had been put into payment plans that they they can't afford.
But despite the many compelling stories people gave describing their medical, economic and familial hardship, Judge Colombo's response to the vast majority of cases was to rule the foreclosure 'granted.'
Tenants organize for rights
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#ferndalemeet
Residents of Autumn House Continue to organize & resist
|Housing Commission meeting at Autumn House|
The residents of Autumn House continue to organize and resist the living conditions imposed on them by the Ferndale Housing Commission. They have drawn up a list of priorities that need to be addressed, including a leaking roof that is contributing to black mold in the building and a lack of air conditioning, that is dangerous for many of the tenants.
Scathing HUD report on Ferndale Housing Comm. calls for change
The HUD Report on the Ferndale Housing Commission came out June 10th. It damned the Board for not carrying out its responsibilities. The number one complaint was the $132,000 wrongly given to Debra Wilson, ex-Director, as severance pay. The Board is liable to pay back $187,000 that it spent on itself, using money meant to be used for low-income housing.
|Testimony in April about the Housing Commission's neglect & discrimination. Read more.|
|Photos from OC115 video|
Tenants suffer from Board neglect
The residents of Autumn House are still without air conditioning, which was brought up for discussion at the last Board meeting, May 20th. Two newly appointed Board members, two representatives from the City, as well as representatives from HUD have all toured the building, located at 500 E. 9 Mile, east of Woodward. They were shown the damp rugs and mold created by a leaking roof and they felt the heat of the building, even though the tour took place when it was only 70 degrees outside.
What happens, residents ask, when it hits 90 and my asthma kicks in? A health crisis, that is what happens.
The residents, as Ferndale Housing Tenants Union, meet bi-weekly. At their last meeting, they discussed and prioritized 11 items needing attention. They will present this to the next Board meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 at Autumn House. The number one item was lack of air conditioning. A (leaking) window air unit feebly pushes air into the community room. The upstairs floors are unbearable. There are issues about how the air conditioners will get paid for. One Board member stated at the last meeting that we wait until someone dies, then we get their window unit.
'No Air? No Fair!'
We should not have to pay for the misuse of funds by the Board! Residents made picket signs, “No Air? No Fair!” and “Let’s Cool It.” And walked to the City Manager’s office, down the street. The Assistant City Manager met with us (along with 2 security guards) and said his office has nothing to do with the running of Autumn House, BUT that they were in negotiations with HUD. Ann Heler, one of the newly appointed Board members saw our little group, but left before talking with any of us.
By supporting each other, tenants make impact
We then went, as a group, to the FHC office, at the Withington Apartments. You need an appointment, the office person first said, then let us in. One of our people had received a Nonpayment of Rent notice, even though he had a receipt and his rent had been put in the drop box. Xerox copies were made, assurances were given that he didn’t have to worry about that paper, and so we left. It was good that we all went, so they could see and so that we can see, we are not alone and we do not have,e insist Commission follow HUD policy on vouchers
Another important decision scheduled to be made at this Board meeting is the change in policy regarding vouchers. Both Charmonique Hopkins and Teresa Benton, among others, were denied vouchers based on the fact that a vacant building was in their neighborhood. We fought this racist, anti-Detroit policy. Both women have had their vouchers reinstated. HUD’s policy is that the structure itself must be free from damage. We want this to be the policy of Ferndale Housing as well.
Supporters are encouraged to join us at the next Ferndale Housing Commission Board meeting (See left column) where Autumn House residents will put forward their demands. Wednesday, July 15, 5 p.m. at Autumn House, 500 E 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#ah
Autumn House tenants confront Ferndale Housing Commission abuses
Autumn House has been “run like a prison,” explained attorney Bob Day, who backed residents and voucher holders as they spoke out at an April 13 Ferndale City Council meeting.
“Residents and voucher holders... came to the podium one by one… to share complaints about the housing program and ask the City Council to get involved in fixing the problems they live with on a day to day basis.” reported OC115.
Autumn House and Section 8 voucher holders met in solidarity March 4 to confront HUD about the abuses and brokenness of the Ferndale Housing Commission under former Ferndale Housing Commission director, Deborah Wilson.
The video shows Autumn House residents speaking out about Deborah Wilson, yet the Board didn't fire her for being caught stealing prescription drugs from tenants. It instead allowed Wilson to step down and in February, approved giving Wilson a severance settlement of $130,000.
As HUD employee Valerie Sims said in the meeting, "This is just the beginning" for residents fighting back.
To link to this story copy: detroitevictiondefense.org/index.php#charmonique
|Video tells Charmonique's story - how the strong life she built from tragedy was endangered by cold-hearted policies.|
How Charmonique Hopkins won back her home
Organizing makes a difference!
Detroiter Charmonique Hopkins’ struggle began in May, 2014, when her family was denied a voucher for a home they had lived in for seven years. Her newly constructed home was not even inspected before she was denied her voucher, the denial based on a boarded up house within a 3 block radius.
Ms. Hopkins spoke out, contacted media, friends, family and Detroit Eviction Defense. She came to meetings and helped organize a fundraiser at her home, which raised enough money to keep the landlord from kicking her out. She was instrumental in publicizing her case and in organizing family and friends in support. She also leafleted at the Transit Authority and in other Detroit locations for city-wide tenant meetings, which she attended with friends.
Inspired by Charmonique, Teresa Benton also stood up for her rights
This media attention attracted Teresa Benton who had suffered similar injustice from Ferndale Housing Commission. She contacted us and involved herself in the broader struggle. She spoke to the Board and let them know how devastating their decision had been to her family, leaving them to live with various relatives, and in effect, homeless. In her words, they “insulted her intelligence” and questioned her ability to make good decisions for her family.
The Ferndale Housing Commission issued an APOLOGY to both women, asserting that they didn’t realize the harm they had caused. As Bob Day said, there was no problem until Ferndale Housing Commission created one – they were the ones who caused the unnecessary stress and harm faced by these families.
There are also problems experienced by the tenants within buildings run by Ferndale Housing Commission, some of which were brought forward at the board meeting – bedbugs, locked community room, repairs not done in a timely manner. We are now working with tenants in their efforts at self-organization.
We also note that the board (all-white) has been challenged more than once as to their composition by tenants of color. We feel tenants and voucher holders should be represented on the board. This would allow problems to be discussed and solved in a more timely fashion. It would be more representative and would be more sensitive to some of the racial issues that are present.
At first they called the police on us!
The first time Detroit Eviction Defense approached the board, they called the police on us and refused to meet with Charmonique Hopkins and her attorney. But diligent organizing and direct action does make a difference!
More tenant news: