Activists affiliated with Occupy Our Homes DC protested in front of a downtown Washington D.C. office of Wall Street titan JP Morgan Chase this afternoon, calling on the bank to offer a local homeowner a mortgage loan modification that would allow her to remain in her home.
Deborah Harris, a former paramedic for the D.C. Fire Department who retired after 23 years due to an injury sustained at work, said she fell behind on her mortgage after having surgery to heal the injury. After her workers’ compensation case was settled, she caught up on the payments, only to fall behind and subsequently catch up again several months later. She eventually was put into foreclosure, and after retiring from the fire department the bank sold her home even as she pursued a modification, according to a video posted on the Occupy Our Homes DC YouTube account.
“They promised me that they were going to give me a modification and then they kept leading me on for months, and months and months and it got up to two years,” Harris says in the video. “And now they want to take my house.”
Today, protesters sat outside a JP Morgan modification office near Franklin Square in downtown D.C., blocking the doors as activists called for the bank to modify the loan. Harris and other activists entered the office, asking to meet with bank officials. When Harris finally met with representatives from the bank, they denied responsibility, saying the loan was now in the hands of Freddie Mac, according to a spokesperson from Occupy Our Homes DC.
JP Morgan did not return requests for comment, though an answering machine message notes that it will not negotiate modifications “if the loan has already been sent to foreclosure,” since “there is no loan to modify.”
Multiple speakers, including Bertina Jones, another local homeowner whose home was saved by Occupy activists, called for action from JP Morgan.
“The banks and the lenders out there, they’ve got to understand that they received taxpayer money,” said Rev. Graylan Hagler. And because they received taxpayer money, we expect for them to take care of the common good. If they’re going to take that money, then they have to take care of everybody that they basically abused in the process.”