I met this afternoon with Samuel. His situation is more complicated
than I thought - his house has already been sold (and now I believed is
owned by a place called residential properties LLC). I know people do
defend families "post foreclosure" to remain in their homes - it's really
something I know little about personally.
As for the family - they had owned the home for 14 years, and, as Amy
earlier stated, have gotten a real run around on how to keep it (an initial
agent agreed to modify the first loan, then they were given different
agents at Fannie Mae who didn't prioritize helping them negotiate at all).
There does seem to be some areas where it's questionable if Fannie Mae did
the legal thing - for instance Samuel signed a document instead of his
wife, who was the legal owner of the property.
He said that somebody from Naca (non-profit who helps with legal aid and
refinancing foreclosures) did contact him but after one good conversation
he has not been able to get back in touch with them. I think it should be
a high priority for us to get in contact with them as Occupy Houston - I
know that was mentioned at Thursday's meeting - and start figuring out
legal options very quickly. Samuel did state a preference for checking out
his options legally before the "bolder" pressure options.
As for facing eviction - he did receive a standard notice of eviction
from the new property owner but that's different from being served and
required by local law enforcement to leave - that requires some
proceedings: http://www.jp.hctx.net/evictions/filing.htm . (incidentally
his property lies half in Fort Bend, half in Harris county). So we have
some time there, as for him facing immediate eviction. I talked to him
about what defending against an eviction might look like - people camped
out in his yard (it's a relatively small yard in the corner of two
streets), and told him that these kind of campaigns generally involve
public awareness (marches on a bank/mortgage holder/property owner,
occupations, press conferences/releases, etc.) and he seemed very open to
all those ideas, and said he just wanted to fight because the whole
situation and foreclosures in general just aren't right. He seems to have
a big family and circle of friends but no immediate church or organization
that could help out. The neighborhood seems probably mostly latino/mixed
and working to middle class, so we may have that in our favor.
There's also of course the "show me the note", which should def. be
explored here because it seems like the property and financial institutions
here may have made a mess.
As for the Atlanta Occupy folks - also a complicated thing - the "leader"
you could say, Tim Franzen, of the actions over there was who I had talked
to about being on the call initially but he was arrested yesterday for
"littering" at the Chase bank protest they had, so he hasn't gotten back to
me about a specific day. I asked somebody else involved in a home
occupation there and she said it shouldn't be a problem to have somebody
on, and I will pass them the details when we have our call scheduled.