Monday, September 10, 2012

Fannie and Freddie, Here We Come!

ATLANTA -- On Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:00am,  folks from all over the Southeast will march on Fannie Mae's regional headquarters, 950 E Paces Ferry Rd NE in Atlanta . Our march will begin at the Buckhead Marta Station (across from the Financial Center on Peachtree).

This Southeastern action is the launch of a national campaign aimed at highlighting and addressing the inhumane practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. People from Athens, Chattanooga, Miami, Orlando and Nashville will join Atlantans in holding Fannie and Freddie accountable for their abuse of our system and demand change.

Many underwater homeowners who Freddie and Fannie refuse to work with will be present and demanding a meeting with Catherine Lasher of Fannie Mae. On the Eve of the event dozens of Organizers, underwater homeowners, and members of the homeless community gathered to prepare for the mobilization and  discuss what a Southeastern housing justice movement could look like.

We also finished last minute tasks and packed 150 lunches for some of the bus riders coming in from various parts of the city.

Currently Georgia is near the top of the list of most devastated states in this foreclosure crisis and as a region, the Southeast is the hardest hit per capita. Homeowners, renters and the homeless have been cursed by unjust practices that include refusal to reduce principal, bulk sale of homes to investors at 10-20% of market value, and holding properties hostage in communities hit hardest by the crisis. In Atlanta there are six vacant homes for each homeless person. This is not acceptable.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are amongst the largest players in the economy controlling about 60% of the mortgages in the US. After gambling with our homes, and buying up subprime mortgages during the housing bubble, they were placed under conservatorship of the US government in 2008, receiving billions of taxpayers dollars. Now, four years later, they continue to put people out of their homes, and are the biggest obstacle to fixing the housing crisis.

Recently Edward DeMarco, acting director of FHFA, has refused to offer principle reduction to help over 16 million underwater homeowners find relief and stay in their homes. His refusal flies in the face of suggestions from Timothy Geitner and the White House. The FHFA estimates that principal reduction could put up to $500 million back in the pockets of tax payers. Even with this they have began to sell houses at steep discounts to investors & hedge funds after refusing to reduce principal or accept rent from foreclosed homeowners.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are trend setters in finance capital. Should they undertake massive principal reduction to real market values, and turn homes over to communities instead of hedge funds the echoes of the housing crisis would be greatly dampened.

As taxpayers with an 80% stake in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we demand that both institutions:

  *Reduce principal to real market values
  *Stop conducting evictions
  *Allow homeowners to rent after foreclosure
  *Sell foreclosed properties back to occupants and non-profit developers, not out-of-state investors
  *Turn over vacant properties to community controlled entities to provide long-term affordable housing

American Friends Service Committee is proud to play a key role in the mobilizing effort along with Occupy Our Homes ATL, Home Defenders League, Occupy Chattanooga, Right To The City Alliance, Miami Workers Center, and others.

Why should you go?

We will march on Fannie Mae's regional headquarters, located at 950 East Paces Ferry Road, at 11:00AM on Monday September 10th.

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