Category: Videos (Page 1 of 2)

After years of fighting to save their homes in the courts and the community, 15 Gratiot McDougall families threatened with eviction by developer Peter Barclae finally won the right to buy their homes.

Barclae had turned his back on the promises he originally made to the families when they moved into their homes in Detroit’s Gratiot-McDougall area. But he finally gave in to years of pressure and agreed to sell all 15 homes to United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC), the Detroit non-profit that will sell the homes to the families.

Congrats to all who helped them win

They picketed Barclae’s business properties, joined rallies and fundraisers, and packed city council, court and mayoral meetings. They made phone calls urging Barclae to settle and contributed to UCHC to help them buy the homes. But the real key to victory was the amazing way the families held together through all the pressure, kept the faith, and refused to give up.

Stopping the selling of their homes

Peter Barclae, the Oakland County developer not only refused to make good on his promises, but also tried relentlessly to evict them. He claimed all their payments were for renting. But after he got a Singapore-based company, Midas, to start selling their homes, 40-plus people braved the pouring rain to protest at Midas’ office in Pontiac.

Picketing Midas.

Channel 2 and other media showed up as the group provided Midas evidence of Barclae’s illegal bait-and-switch. Within hours, Midas had removed all the homes from its listings.

Confronting Mayor Duggan at a District 5 Detroit meeting

On September 25, at a District 5 Detroit meeting, a group wearing new T-shirts showing their support for Gratoit -McDougall families got Mayor Duggan’s attention in their crusade to stop the unjust evictions.Detroit had given taxpayer money to Peter Barclae, a failed developer from West Bloomfield, to build affordable homes in the Gratiot McDougall area.

Confronting Mayor Duggan.

The Mayor agreed they got a “raw deal” and says he’ll do whatever is in his power to help them get justice.

Barclae ploys foiled in Court

Barclae kept insisting the $40,000 – $70,000 he’s collected from these homebuyers was only “rent” and they were “tenants.” The homeowners sued to stop this arrogant breach of contract, enforce their right to buy the homes, and save their neighborhood from the blight that will follow if they are evicted.

Supporters joined them at a June 20 hearing where the Judge was so surprised by Barclae’s marketing of homes in dispute that she delayed the company’s demand for escrow.

Subsequently, on July 25 and Sept. 5 the families fought back against bogus motions to evict them so the developer could sell their homes. Each time supporters were there to back them up. Barclae’s various attempts to evict failed in court.

The happy conclusion

In the end,  the Gratiot McDougall families won the right to buy their homes. The determination of the families — and with the support of DED — and their willingness to publicize their stories was key to their success.

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.

They fought eviction for over a year, also regained money stolen by mortgage imposter

March through the neighborhood, 11/8/13.

The Hernandez family – Ludim and Gabriela, their three daughters Kriscia, Yelinne, and Litzy – refused to be evicted from-the Southwest Detroit home where they’ve lived for over a decade.

All-day vigils helped stave off eviction

In the fall of 2013 an outpouring of people rallied for the family, to stop the unfair eviction ordered for September. We marched, organized in the neighborhood (including a Halloween party), and camped out in a non-stop vigil at the home until the eviction order expired two months later.

Mortgage impostor stole their savings, got jailed

When they tried to buy back their home during the foreclosure process, the family got fleeced out of their life savings of $15,000 by Kenneth Sandoval, a wealthy man who presented himself as a mortgage representative. But after DED twice visited his home, alerted neighbors, and complained to the Attorney General, Sandoval had to leave his luxury home, was arrested, sentenced and imprisoned. The stolen amount was returned to the family, which used it to buy the home back.

Hernandez family and supporters celebrate victory.

Fanny Mae, which took over the home after foreclosure, finally relented on its systematic refusal to sell homes back to the families living in them. After demanding absurd amounts for a home in a neighborhood hard hit by foreclosure, it finally agreed to a reasonable price and sold back the home in the summer of 2015.

When Excellent Schools Detroit heard about the Hernandez family’s fight against being evicted from their Southwest Detroit home, they came out to talk with the family’s three daughters, Kriscia, Litzy, and Yelinne. The three explain the effect that the process has had on them, as the community rallied together with Detroit Eviction Defense to try to put a stop to this life-altering event.

¡No más! from Excellent Schools Detroit on Vimeo.

The Dexter family.

Freddie Mac was set to evict, but finally gave in to pressure, accepted her offer

Viewing a powerful video by Detroit Eviction Defense might have shamed this federally-owned mortgage company into halting its senseless drive to evict this family in November 2014.

By the time Lorraine Dexter realized that a checking account had been hacked and some mortgage checks bounced, Chase Bank had already moved to foreclose on her. Even after she had worked frantically to get the money she owed to the bank in time, Chase went ahead and foreclosed. Freddie Mac took over her home in the Sheriff’s sale and won a court order to immediately seize the home and put Ms. Dexter on the street.

Even after families in all the other homes on her block were evicted she vowed, “I’m the last one standing and I refuse to go easily.” Ms. Dexter’s courageous fight and support from Eviction Defense got Freddie Mac to cancel one eviction hearing after another and finally settle in early 2015.


Detroit’s Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood offers key support

Jennifer had paid $46,000 to save a Rosedale Park-Detroit home that’s worth $25,000; 100 people held dawn-to-dusk vigil for two months to prevent eviction. Detroit Eviction Defense organized house-to-house leafleting of the neighborhood, informing them of Jennifer’s problem and inviting them to call the bank.

Spirited rally at the Federal Building, where 60-70 people protested Fannie Mae’s refusal of the offer by Michigan Lending Solutions to buy Jennifer’s house at its appraised value.

The committee also picketed, with UAW Local 600, at both Flagstar Bank, the holder of her mortgage, and at Fannie Mae, who backed it.

Demonstrating at Flagstar.

As the eviction order was issued, DED invited neighbors to participate in the 12-hour vigil. DED also held weekly meetings on Jennifer’s lawn.

As the vigil began July 19, 2012 Jennifer told her story (below) to a WWJ reporter, who found bank’s actions “unbelievable.”

Read the article and watch the Huffington Post story & video.

After the two-month vigil, Fannie Mae finally agreed to work out an agreement to sell Ms. Britt her home — a home she and her family live in today.


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