Lela Whitfield wins tough battle

After a grueling two-year legal battle and Eviction Defense support campaign, Lela Whitfield’s fight for her home was down to the wire — Fannie Mae asked the court for an eviction order in November 2015.

But Fannie Mae’s request struck Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller as so unreasonable that she delayed signing the writ for 30 days to “see if we can’t work something out so that [Lela] stays in her home and Fannie Mae doesn’t have another vacant property in Detroit.”

The Judge recognized the people in the courtroom supporting Lela, and two reporters were taking notes.

“Whitfield’s problem began in 2005, when her mother fell prey to one of the mortgage industry’s most notorious types of loan — the reverse mortgage…” Go to Free Press Article here.

When Lela’s Mom died, Lela didn’t realized her mom had taken out a reverse mortgage. By the time she found out about it and that she had the right to buy the home, Fannie Mae had taken over the mortgage and moved to instead evict her. Fannie Mae spent huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to try to throw a hard-working woman out of a home appraised at just $9000.

Supporters stand with Lela Whitfield (center, blue shirt).
A children’s violin group prepare to play.

On September 13, 2015 DED organized, with neighbors — particularly the Feedom Freedom Farm across the street — a free concert attended by 150 supporters. Featuring local musicians, it was held in a lot just up the street from Whitfield’s home. The music ranged from neighborhood rap to blues to classical, gospel and much more. People came not just to be entertained but also to show solidarity with Lela Whitfield, a woman who was determined to save her home.

Victory at last – in battle that never should have happened

Listening to local rappers.

That launched months of tough negotiations and in March 2016, Lela finally won her right to buy back the home she grew up in at market value. Eviction Defense had mobilized support, including a community concert.

Go to Free Press article and video here.

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