Laid Off Teacher Fights to Save Home

Gaylynne Hudson and supporters celebrate in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch on Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland after learning the sale of her home has been postponed. Back Row (L to R) Gaylynne Hudson and Ann Colten. Front Row (L to R) Barbara Jean Knox, Marianne Etlinger and Dan Spalding.

By Danielle Savage Gaylynne Hudson, a laid off teacher who lives in Oakland, was facing immediate foreclosure of her home. With the help of friends who marched into Wells Fargo Bank, she was able to head off the auction of her house, winning a short-term extension. She has been struggling to avert foreclosure on her Fruitvale District home since 2010. Hours before Hudson’s home was scheduled to be auctioned, Hudson and about 25 others on Monday, Jan. 7 entered the Wells Fargo Bank at 3450 Fruitvale Ave. in Oakland. “We started to call the bank’s manager and the loan representatives on our cell phones. They began to bring police. Then they locked the doors, then they brought more police,” said Jessie Ortiz, former colleague of Hudson’s at the Oakland Unified School District. “We began to chant songs. By then there were no more customers in the bank – it was just us and the police. We weren’t going to commit any felony, said Ortiz. “We did get a postponement for a month. We got to speak with somebody quite high up. I think this has kind of made them a bit scared.” Hudson noted. Wells Fargo spokesperson Mariana Phipps said the bank’s mortgage division was looking into Hudson’s case. “They haven’t been following the law,” said Hudson, referring to the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, which went into to effect Jan. 1, only six days before the scheduled auction of Hudson’s home. The new Homeowner’s Bill of Rights is a set of laws, backed by Attorney General Kamala Harris, that tries to halt mortgage fraud, prevent arbitrary evictions and ensure fair lending and borrowing practices for homeowners. “The bank has been trying to sell my house for eight months. I made payments on time until I lost my job, and I have done everything I can,” she said. “There is not really any human element. The system is so complex that you can’t even figure it out,” she continued. Hudson said she had been in a forbearance agreement with Wells Fargo—under which she made payments towards her mortgage—for six months, and once the agreement expired, she requested a new application package. While negotiating for a renewal of her payment agreement with Wells Fargo, Hudson said she has also had to deal with collection agencies and law firms acting on behalf of the bank. “This is about people being forced out of their own homes,” said Hudson. “I’m going to continue to fight not just for myself but for other people.” Hudson has been supported by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in Oakland, which can be contacted at (510) 269-4692.
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