Occupy Homes MN and a coalition of faith leaders and community organizations are claiming a small victory in Minneapolis today after helping local resident Monique White stay in her home, despite attempts from Freddie Mac and U.S. Bank to evict her during foreclosure proceedings. Freddie Mac had previously defied the state attorney general’s order to halt foreclosure proceedings and pursued an eviction, which would have taken place today.
But after a meeting between White’s attorneys, local officials, and Freddie Mac representatives, a hearing on the foreclosure has been moved to Friday, according to a press release from Occupy Our Homes MN.
White, like millions of American homeowners, fell behind on her mortgage and had applied for a loan modification with U.S. Bank, the original servicer of her loan. The modification was denied, however, and Freddie Mac took control of the loan and initiated court proceedings to foreclose on the home. Occupy Homes MN, the attorney general’s office, and White’s attorneys are now investigating the case to see if White’s mortgage and modification applications were mishandled by either U.S. Bank or Freddie Mac, a spokesperson for Occupy Homes MN told ThinkProgress.
“We’re looking to find evidence of mishandling of the foreclosure practices by Freddie Mac or U.S. Bank,” the spokesperson, Anthony Newby, said. “We believe they did not negotiate in good faith. It’s unclear why she was turned down (for the modification), when she was turned down. All of that is up in the air.”
According to Newby, White currently works two retail jobs and lives with a relative who is also willing to make payments toward the mortgage if it gets a modification. White has lived in the house in north Minneapolis since 2003, but sought the modification after losing an earlier job as a counselor helping troubled teens.
Her case has also received support from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who represents the district in which she lives. Citing privacy reasons, Ellison’s office declined to comment on action he had taken on behalf of White, but he released a statement today, saying, “I encourage US Bank and Freddie Mac to act in good faith and negotiate a solution that works well for all parties and allows Monique and her children to keep their home.”
North Minneapolis is among the worst hit areas in the state for foreclosures. According to Newby, 56 percent of North Minneapolis homes are facing foreclosure, and 40 percent of the Minneapolis’s foreclosures occurred there. White, who is black, is also facing a dilemma many minority homeowners have faced. According to a report by the Center on Responsible Lending, black and Latino homeowners were twice as likely to have been affected by the housing crisis as white borrowers.