A Foreclosure Bond for Poughkeepsie

Over 700. That’s how many vacant buildings there are in the City of Poughkeepsie.
As you all know, foreclosures have ripped through this city, leaving in their wake uprooted families, torn apart communities, and hundreds of vacant homes.
Banks not only evict residents, they let their properties become blighted, hurting neighborhood property values, increasing crime, and undermining the safety of the community. They privatize the gain and socialize the pain.
When this happens, who cleans up the mess? Small cash-strapped cities like Poughkeepsie and their hard-hit taxpayers.
This is why Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has spent the past few months working on an innovative piece of legislation: a foreclosure bond for Poughkeepsie.
  • In our efforts to hold banks responsible for the crisis they created, Nobody Leaves has teamed up with Community Voices Heard, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Poughkeepsie Common Council to create a game-changing piece of legislation called a foreclosure bond.
  • This ordinance will require banks to give the City of Poughkeepsie a $10,000 bond for each foreclosed or vacant property.
  • If the banks fail to upkeep the properties, then the city can use that bond money to do the upkeep and stop the blight.
With your help, we can become the 7th city in the United States to pass this type of progressive legislation.Together we can hold the banks accountable for this crisis and reduce both foreclosures and blighting.
You can support us by sharing the infographic below on facebook and spreading the word. If you’re a resident of the City of Poughkeepsie, you can also click here to sign up and get involved.

We’ve worked for years fighting foreclosure home by home. This legislation will take our struggle to the next level. Join us as we retake our communities!

Regional Action in Providence

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A group of NLMH members joined our allies for a regional protest demanding change at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We delivered a letter to a key senator, picketed, shared testimony, and delivered petitions to a board member following a productive meeting.

Our action already received great press coverage: http://www. masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ 2014/08/springfield_no_one_ leaves_protest.html#incart_m- rpt-1

Here’s Tanya’s testimony:

Hello, my name is Tanya Torpey. I’ve lived in my home in Fishkill, NY for 13 years. I’m in foreclosure and my home is owned by Freddie Mac. I’m fighting for my home as a member of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson.

I am disabled, and I used to work caring for disabled people in their homes until 2010, when I had to stop working because my disability became worse. In early 2011, I developed sepsis, landing in the hospital, requiring major surgury, which has me slowly healing to the present. In mid-2012, my daughter became sick with Polycysteic Ovarian Syndrome and also became disabled in her senior year of high school. I had to become her advocate myself, no doctors or lawyers would help me. In dealing with all of that I fell into foreclosure.

How can Fannie and Freddie keep evicting low-income and disabled people like me who have nowhere else to go?

I’m also the only daughter who can care for my elderly mother of 82 years who is in a nursing home. My mother is asking to come home with me to live out her final days with her family as her health is quickly deteriorating, but I can’t even do that because I don’t know when Freddie Mac is going to try to evict me.

The banks have long twisted the laws with the assistance of the government. We bailed out the banks, and we own Fannie and Freddie. How can the banks WE OWN… use OUR MONEY… to kick us out of OUR HOMES.

Now we, exhausted and sick from being thusly abused, while treading water to keep our homes, in a toxic environment, funded with our money, need beg for shelter?  It is our talent, money, skills, hands, and hearts that run this world, that fill your banks! Our homes are built on the sands and backs of those you are impoverishing.

Many people are paying 60% or more of their income to their housing! Nobody should have to pay more than 30%. Nobody should have to pay more for housing than they can afford.

Like so many other people, my home is underwater. Why spend so much money on foreclosing and evicting people only to sell the home for below its actual value? Instead of evicting people, you could change their loans to reflect the real value of the home. I’m asking Mel Watt to choose principal reduction instead of eviction, not just for myself, but for everyone with a loan from Fannie or Freddie.

I’m inspired by the strength and commitment of others who see through the greed of the banks and the government that works for them. I’m inspired by everyone here today, and everyone else rallying for justice from Fannie and Freddie around the country. Sharing a voice and joining in spirit, together we are a tidal wave of strength that cannot be stopped until Fannie and Freddie end all evictions.

 

Victory for the Phillips Family!

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Rosanne Phillips and her family are finalizing an agreement with the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Instead of being evicted, the Phillips family will be renting their home for the next few months while they finalize a buy-back deal.

Everyone who signed a petition, attended the vigil, and contacted the Credit Union prevented another home from becoming vacant and another family from becoming homeless.
Collective action allows us to beat the odds. Rosanne had received a 10 day notice to leave her house when she joined Nobody Leaves. She had packed her bags. Thanks to her family’s courage and the outpouring of community support, she is unpacking her boxes.
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HVFCU: Don’t Evict Our Neighbor Rosanne

Occupy Homes PhotoYou can help stop an unnecessary eviction.
On Saturday, March 29th, community members will be holding a vigil for Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson member Rosanne Phillips and her family, who are facing an eviction by the supposedly community-oriented Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (HVFCU).
After being laid off during the height of the recession, Rosanne has found work as a part-time teacher. Just a week ago, she landed a full time job. Along with her husband’s income, they can pay for their home, and want to work out a solution. The HVFCU has refused to work with Rosanne and is pursuing an eviction. Does the Hudson Valley need another vacant home and another homeless family?
The HVFCU is supposed to be a community-minded institution. They aren’t acting like it right now.
We need your help to show that the community stands behind Rosanne and her family. Join us for a vigil on Saturday, March 29th.

When: 4pm – 5:15pm. 

Where: We’ll gather at the corner of IBM and Barnegat rd in Poughkeepsie (the parking lot of Avis) at 4pm. We’ll then head to the HVFCU’s main branch at 159 Barnegat rd.

How: Rides will be available from Vassar College and downtown Poughkeepsie.

We will listen to testimony, song, and speeches, and we will makes sure that the HVFCU hears community voices demanding not one more eviction.
Join us! Click here to RSVP to the facebook event.

 

Nobody Leaves Tells Freddie Mac that “We Shall Not Be Moved”

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As part of a national week of action led by the Right To The City Alliance, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson descended on Freddie Mac’s regional office to demand #Not1MoreEviction. Demanding justice for Jaymie Kelly and all the other home defenders, we sang “We Shall Not Be Moved.” Freddie Mac representatives met with us and took our petitions with over 10,000 signatures. You can see video of our action by clicking here.

This NYC action was one of seven that took place throughout the country.

By week’s end, Mel Watt had granted the first meeting to advocates (which includes us!) since taking office this year. Mel Watt is the new FHFA Director over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which control over half of all mortgages and significantly impact affordable housing.

Our message to Mel Watt was loud and clear: Stop all evictions and foreclosures until you have reviewed the draconian policies of your predecessor. 

Another Fundraising Success

Thank you to RESIST, which just awarded us a grant to support our 2014 work!

This is especially meaningful to us because of the historical struggles RESIST has been a part of. RESIST funds small grassroots groups committed to social change in the early stages of their organizing, and past grantees which received seed funding from RESIST include the Black Panther Party, SDS, SNCC, United Farm Workers, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, ACT-UP, and SOUL.

If you are part of an organization that might want to apply, or want to give to a great foundation that relies 100% on small private contributions, their address is 259 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. Their number is 617-623-5110 and their website is resistinc.org. 

Fundraising Success: Thank You to Our Contributors

Our founding drive to establish the group as a sustainable non-profit ended on January 15th having raised $7,113 from 72 different donors, over $2,000 more than our original goal. Another $5,000 will be added from an anonymous donor, bringing our total up to $12,113. We are well on our way to being able to hire a staff member and strengthen our fight against foreclosure and eviction in 2014 and beyond. For a relatively young organization, with limited access to foundation funding, every contribution was critical. A sincere thank you to all of our contributors, many of whom are listed below:

Amy Bix and Taner Edis,  Angela Giffin, Bill Hoynes, Eve Dunbar, Francena Amparo, Gary Heavner, Janet Jordan-Foster and Clive Foster, Jeffery Cohen, John Deane and Natasha Deane, Judy Lipshutz, Karl Kister, Kate Stone, Leonard Nevarez, Leslie Offut, Lewis Maltby, Margaret Hayes, Maria Hanzopolous, Marianne Stanton, Michael Haber, Natalie Ward, Nick Adams and Laurie Nussdofer, Pinar Batur, Robert Resnick, Sean Collins, Spencer Resnick, Sue Parsons, Suzan Frazier, Tim Koechlin and Katherine Joyce, Tony Brown, Yanee Ferrari

Flavia Perry Has Won Her Home

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It is with great pleasure that we announce that Flavia Perry has completed her journey and won her home. She has signed a permanent modification with Bank of America. For the first time in the history of the foreclosure crisis in the Hudson Valley, public pressure has not only reversed a foreclosure, but has won a permanent loan modification on our terms.

This ends a hard fought struggle. We cannot thank you enough for the work you put into it, supporting Flavia and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson through the protests, petitions, letter-writing, and singing.

We say that when we fight, we win. That was true for Flavia and her family. It will be true for the other families of Nobody Leaves. This victory will be the first of many as we continue to grow and build our power.

Help us celebrate our victory by supporting our work with a donation. We are currently in the middle of a founding drive to become a permanent organization with staff. This will allow us to continue to score victories just like Flavia’s. Click here for more information and to contribute.

Once again, thank you for your continued support. Please spread the good news and share our updates on facebook.

Together in the struggle, we shall not be moved!