Community members back neighbors who are fighting to keep their homes. Photos by Ken A. Epstein.
Lola Daniels (center) with sisters Misty Hudson (left) and Yvonne Standford are trying to get a home loan modification from Bank of America.
Aers and her Maxwell Park neighbors, along with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), held a rally Tuesday to head off the possibility of foreclosures of her home and two others on Maxwell Street, and called for a moratorium on home foreclosures until the new state Homeowner Bill of Rights goes into effect in January.
“We are calling on the city to take action and declare Oakland a foreclosure free-zone,” said Yvonne Standford, Daniels’ sister. “There are a lot of people that are in jeopardy of losing their homes right now.”
“There are so many foreclosures that are in the pipeline, and this is what has forced me to get involved with ACCE,” Standford continued. “I saw that my sister was in trouble. She never defaulted on her payments until health problems forced her to go into early retirement.”
More than 10,000 Oakland homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosures since 2007, according to ACCE.
The bill of rights will prevent banks from forcing families from their homes while mortgages settlements are still being negotiated.
The new law, which was backed by Attorney General Kamala Harris, will require banks to provide mortgage holders with a single point of contact when they are negotiating their loans or loan modification, rather than bouncing customers from one service agent to another.
Banks and lenders would also be required to give a clear explanation to mortgage holders and borrowers when they deny requests for loan modifications.
Alice Leon is another Maxwell Park homeowner who is fighting foreclosure.
“It’s been particularly stressful,” she said. “We worked hard to get a modification when we knew our business was taking a hit.”
Her company lost 70 percent its business since the economy went bad, she said. “All we’re looking for is a way to negotiate to save our homes and not be accused of being deadbeats.”
“It has been my home since 1985,” Leon said. “This neighborhood is my family. The most important thing about my house isn’t the building. It’s the neighborhood.
“It’s worth the battle.”
For information on ACCE, call (510) 269-4692.