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Family Fights Off Foreclosure PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 04:57

Occupy San Fernando Valley Joins the Struggle

Tents, signs, and couches with plenty of people sitting on them have taken over the front yard of a foreclosed home in Van Nuys, where members of the Occupy San Fernando Valley group have joined the evicted owners of the house in a struggle to keep the property.

"If they kick me out, I don't have a place to go," said Guadalupe Hernandez, who seven years ago bought the house on Leadwell Drive for $540,000 where nine people, five adults and four children lived.

The house is now worth about $242,000 "What we want is not for them to give us the house for free, we want a modification that's fair, that we can pay," Hernandez said.

At the time, the family paid a monthly $3,900 mortgage that jumped to $4,500 after two years, when they stopped paying it.

"We could pay the [mortgage], but since the house's value went down, we decided to not keep paying it and try to get a modification," said Maria, one of Hernandez' daughters.

Maria said they have tried to get a loan modification on three occasions, without success.

"They always lost a document or they told us we turned in a document too late, they've never helped us," Maria complained.

The third time, they tried to get a modification, Bank of America, the mortgage lender, told them the house had already been sold. The deadline for leaving the property was Sunday, Aug. 26.

But since last weekend, members of Occupy San Fernando Valley have taken over the entrance to the home, and vow to not let authorities evict the family.

"We're a little worried, we don't know what's going to happen," said Ulises, Hernandez' son and also a member of Occupy San Fernando Valley.

"I can't sleep. I keep thinking (Sheriff's deputies) are going to come and knock at the door," he said. "If they come I will resist leaving because this is my house, but I'm afraid for my five-yearold child. I don't want him to see this."

At a press conference in front of the house on Tuesday, Aug. 28, onlookers could see signs such as "No Homes, No Justice" and "The System Has Failed," as well as chalk writings on the street stating "We're not a loan" and "Stop foreclosures."

At the press conference, Occupy members expressed several demands: that Bank of America negotiate in good faith with the family, for a constitutional right to make housing a human right, to allow homeless people to occupy vacant homes, and for elected officials to place a moratorium on foreclosures.

In a statement, Bank of America officials said, "We are currently researching the Hernandez' loan history to determine if any home retention options are available to them at this time. We will be contacting them today to explain our findings."

Family members, however, said they were still waiting to hear from bank representatives.

"The banks should remember they're throwing people to the streets. We're not here fighting just for our home, we're fighting for all the people who have faced this," Maria said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 August 2012 05:02