By Diane Bukowski
July 11, 2012
DETROIT – Over one hundred marchers targeted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in front of the McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit July 9, on behalf of Jennifer Britt and thousands of others who are facing evictions by the two agencies. The agencies, now controlled by the federal government, now own or guarantee over 70 percent of all mortgages in the country.
Protesters chanted, “Hey, hey Fannie Mae, how many families did you evict today?”
Attorney Jerome Goldberg of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition against Foreclosures, Evictions and Shut-offs, who represents many clients facing foreclosure, explained the situation.
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fully taken over by the federal government in 2008, under the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” Goldberg said. “They bought up more than $5 trillion in toxic mortgage loans for their full value. When you go to to 36th District Court, you see that the majority of evictions taking place are being done by these agencies. But they are hiding the fact that the banks have ultimate control. This is an outrageous policy of bailing out the banks and evicting people. We are calling on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order halting all foreclosures.”
According to Detroit Eviction Defense, federal agencies now own or guarantee more than 70 percent of all single-family mortgages, in the wake of the housing collapse. Fannie Mae by itself has cost taxpayers over $116 billion for its mortgage bail-outs.
Jennifer Britt lives with her 78-year-old mentally ill uncle, her 74-year-old mother, and her 19-year-old daughter in home in the Rosedale Park neighborhood.
“I would like Fannie Mae to reconsider the offer they made on my home,” Britt told VOD. “They need to let it go for the appraised value, not hold me to a mortgage they told me wasn’t even mine.”
Flagstar Bank first foreclosed on Britt when her husband, a member of UAW Local 600, died in 2006. She paid $26,000 from his life insurance to forestall eviction. Flagstar refused to put the mortgage in her name and negotiate a loan modification. Then it raised monthly payments on the home from $1,550 to $1,975 by the time Britt lost her own job in 2008.
Fannie Mae told the non-profit agency Southwest Solutions, which offered to buy the home on Britt’s behalf for its appraised value, that it would accept nothing less than the $121,000 full value of the mortgage.
“The average sale price for foreclosed homes in Detroit is $11,300,” says Detroit Eviction Defense in their flier. “Fannie Mae will never be able to sell Jennifer’s home for ten times that amount, meaning taxpayers will receive nothing and the house will go empty—with all the negative consequences that such blight brings for neighbors and homeowners.”
Britt and a representative tried to gain access to the McNamara Building to meet with Fannie Mae representatives, but were stopped immediately by guards on the first floor.
Apostle Linda, of a group which has been advocating for Britt, said the actions of Flagstar and Fannie Mae in Britt’s case are unconscionable.
“Jennifer Britt and I sat down and figured out that her family has paid $118,000 over the course of the years on her home,” Apostle Linda said. “Every day when she’s at work, she doesn’t know if she’ll be getting a phone call that another elder in her family is dead because of the stress of this situation.”
Detroit Eviction Defense is conducting daily vigils at Britt’s home, located at 15701 Warwick at Midland, south of Grand River, anticipating that they may have to protect her from eviction any day. They are also conducting a call in and email campaign demanding that Fannie Mae accept the actual value of the home. For more information see below.
Contact numbers for the call-in campaign are:
Fannie Mae Chicago Office: 312-368-6200
Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Center: 866-442-8572
They are asking supporters also to call the offices of the following U.S. Congresspeople on Britt’s behalf:
Senator Debbie Stabenow 313-961-4330
Senator Carl Levin 313-226-6020
Congressman John Conyers 313-961-5670
Congressman Hansen Clarke 313-962-7700
Congressman Gary Peters 247-273-4227
Congressman John Dingell 313-278-2936