Now here’s one of those tanigble victories for the Occupy movement. In Atlanta, protesters saved the house of an Iraq war veteran from foreclosure.
Activists began occupying Brigitte Walker’s home on Dec. 6. By the end of that first week, JPMorgan Chase, which owns her mortgage, began discussing with the activists and Walker the possibility of a loan modification. Chase’s modification offer became official Monday morning. The offer will result, Walker tells The Huffington Post, in hundreds per month in savings.
Before Occupy Atlanta set up its tents on her lawn, Chase had set an eviction date for Jan. 3. Now, Walker, who lives with her girlfriend and her two children, will get to stay in her Riverdale, Ga. home.
“I strongly believe Occupy Atlanta accelerated the process and helped save my home,” Walker says. “If it had not been for them standing up, I probably wouldn’t be having this happy ending.”
This model worked before the Occupy movement, and now it has a much larger pool of activists from which to draw. Obviously we’re not going to solve the foreclosure crisis by having 30 people sit on the lawn of every house facing foreclosure in America. But it’s a fact that the attention generated by these high-profile actions has consistently led to results. That means it ought to be attempted more often. The servicers will foreclose, evict and repossess unless the stories are told. And homeowners will have these vacant properties in their neighborhood, pushing down their property values. One thing that strikes me is that nobody supports these foreclosure defense actions, or resettling families into vacant homes, more than the neighbors. They want a community around them. They don’t want blight in their neighborhoods.
In a way, NACA fulfills this responsibility. They put the individuals in front of the servicers so they cannot bloodlessly make decisions without looking in their eyes. All the Occupy Our Homes movement is doing is forcing attention on the larger issue. Chase will be happy to resolve those and maintain its public image while putting those unseen borrowers into foreclosure. The proper reaction to that is to highlight these issues more. There are thousands of potential stories just like Brigitte Walker’s, and thousands of potential activists ready to act on the situations. It’s time to get to work.