Occupy Homes, Others Demand Foreclosure Action at Freddie Mac Chicago Headquarters
/ By Sarah Jaffe
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have gotten about $150 billion in taxpayer support to stay afloat since the financial crisis--so why do they continue to throw homeowners (and taxpayers) out of their homes?
Today, activists with Occupy Homes, Right to the City, and other groups rallied at Freddie Mac's Chicago headquarters to demand that the firm reform its treatment of homeowners. Leading the charge was the Cruz family, whose home Freddie Mac purchased after foreclosure. "We are taxpayers. We own Freddie Mac. And we're not going to let them bully us anymore," Alejandra Cruz said.
The Cruzes were part of a caravan from Minnesota to Chicago, one of a series of nationwide actions to call attention to the ongoing foreclosure crisis. 99 homeowners from Brockton, MA to Las Vegas to Hacienda Heights, California are heading to offices of Fannie and Freddie in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Washington, DC this week. You can read some of the families' stories at We Are the Fannie and Freddie 99, and a full list of actions is available here.
The Chicago group made it inside Freddie Mac's headquarters to ask that the regional director, John Lucas, Jr., come down to meet with the homeowners, but he refused their request.
“Despite being taxpayer-owned, it’s become painfully clear that Freddie Mac is the primary obstacle preventing the Cruz family from returning to their home,” said Anthony Newby of Occupy Homes MN. “Under the helm of Edward DeMarco they have denied principal reduction to over 15 million homeowners and refused to work with those in foreclosure, all while using public money to carry out costly evictions. The American people deserve better. If we're paying Freddie Mac's bills, they should be accountable to us, not the speculators who crashed the market.”