The Occupy Wall Street protests across the country have been resolutely focused on on advocating for middle class families who have been left behind by an economy that redistributes wealth upward. Although many in the media have derided the protesters for not having concrete goals, 99 percenters are already affecting change in their own communities. In California this week, protesters put their principles into action to help a homeowner in need.
MSNBC reports on how Occupy Los Angeles rallied around one woman who was about to lose her home, and shamed the company that controlled her mortgage into canceling their plans to evict her:
Rose Gudiel and her family were squatters in their own home. They had lost a two-year battle against foreclosure, and the eviction date had arrived. They hunkered down in the house on Sept. 28, surrounded by dozens of homeowner advocates and friends, hoping to stave off forcible removal. [...]
But instead of the anticipated confrontation, there was a dramatic reversal of fortune. Fanny Mae canceled the eviction notice and offered the Gudiels a loan modification that could enable them keep their home.
Why? Fannie Mae and loan servicer OneWest won’t discuss the case. But nonprofit advocates say a series of bold protests — with reinforcements from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement — and a spate of media interest put Rose in the limelight and forced the banks to back down.
Gudiel told her story at a general assembly meeting organized by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in L.A. In a remarkable show of solidarity, hundreds of protesters then joined Gudiel in a protest in front of the $26 million Bel Air mansion owned by Steve Mnuchin, the CEO of OneWest, which serviced her mortgage.
The next day Gudiel and protesters staged a sit-in at the Pasadena branch of Fannie Mae. Her disabled mother gave an impassioned plea to save their home. TV cameras were rolling when Gudiel, her mother and other protesters were arrested and taken away in a paddy wagon. Then in a rapid reversal of fortune, Gudiel announced one day later to a cheering crowd that she had received a letter from the bank offering to discuss a loan modification proposal.
Millions of families continue to struggle from the national foreclosure epidemic. Occupy Wall Street protesters say they hope to build on their success saving Gudiel’s home and use collective action to help other people who are facing foreclosure.
(HT: Michigan Messenger)