Sunday, April 8, 2012
Tomorrow, April 9th, at 11AM Occupy Atlanta will host a Press Conference on the lawn of Vine City resident Pamela Flores’ home at 245 Griffin Street. Councilman Michael Julian Bond, Ralph David Abernathy III, Pastor Dexter Johnson, and representatives from Communication Workers of America will join. This is part of the Occupy movement's 99% spring offensive that American Friends Service Committee is helping to organize locally by provided venue space and trainers.
In 2008, we discovered that bankers and speculators had gambled with our most valuable assets, our homes--betting against us and destroying trillions of dollars of our wealth. Now, because of the foreclosure crisis that Wall Street banks created with their lies and greed, millions of Americans have lost their homes and one in four homeowners are severely underwater on their mortgage. Not only do we have thousands of people without homes, we have thousands of homes without people. Boarded-up houses are sitting empty--increasing crime, lowering the value of other homes in the neighborhood, erasing the wealth that lifts families into the middle class.
The foreclosure crisis hit Vine City hard. Now, only 15% of residents own their homes and many of them are facing hardship, like resident Pamela Flores whose property backs up to Martin Luther King III and City Councilman Michael Julian Bond’s home. The spokesperson for the Vine City resident is Georgia State Certified Mediator Al Bartell who will be communicating on her behalf.
Pamela bought her home at an inflated amount in 2006, the height of the crime spree at the hands of American banking institutions. In 2009 she attempted to get a loan modification with Bank of America through the “Making Homes Affordable” program. The bank told her that in order to qualify she needed to miss 3-4 mortgage payments; this is a scam that has already put countless Americans out of their homes. During the time she missed payments, at the banks request and in order to meet the loan modification criteria, she fell into foreclosure. By qualifying for the “Making Homes Affordable” program foreclosure was temporarily avoided. Pamela began to pay trial period monthly payments for the “Making Homes Affordable” program. When it was time for Bank of America to grant her the promised modification, they instead mailed her a notification alleging that she failed to make four out of five payments. Her home, unknowing to her, was slated for auction at the Fulton County courthouse during the time the bank claimed to be researching their records for the “missing” payments. The thing is, Pamela Flores never missed a payment, in fact she was never even late, and has all the records to prove it.
Since she reached out to Occupy Atlanta a few weeks ago, we were able to work with the Rainbow Push Coalition to put off her home auction for one month--but that’s not good enough. Occupy Atlanta and the newly formed Occupy Our Homes - Atlanta will begin a full scale occupation of Pamela’s home until Bank of America makes a deal to keep her in it. Occupy Atlanta and Occupy Our Homes will work with her community to establish a base for defending other homes at risk of foreclosure and eviction. We plan to target private and public institutions that continue to disrespect Vine City residents.
American Friends Service Committee is excited to play a role in the campaign to save the Pamela Flore's home and the ongoing struggle to housing and economic justice in the Vine City area
Occupy Our Homes - Atlanta is a brand new organization developed to further Occupy Atlanta's work around foreclosure and eviction. The group's goal is to mobilize
the metro Atlanta area around the housing crisis