Dismayed by Fannie Mae’s withdrawal, UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada will co-host hearing on foreclosures without feds


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DETROIT — UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, disappointed and angered by the withdrawal of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from a Detroit hearing on foreclosures, will proceed with plans to co-host the May 20 event.

“This was our chance for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to listen and learn about how destructive their policy of foreclosure and eviction is for metro Detroit,” said Estrada, who anticipates spirited testimony at the People’s Hearing. “They need to see and hear the evidence that their policies are hurting working families and undermining neighborhoods.”

Following two months of discussion and planning, the federal agencies have withdrawn from the hearing at the direction of legal counsel, claiming that it would be “awkward” for officials to hear testimony from homeowners who are in litigation fighting eviction by Fannie or Freddie.

Throughout the planning process, organizers of the event exercised full disclosure of the planned agenda and details of the public hearing. Officials from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failing mortgage investors taken over by the federal government in 2008, agreed in March to come to Detroit and hear testimony from homeowners, union members and community leaders about the foreclosure crisis.

Fannie and Freddie, which own or insure more than half of all residential mortgages in the country, have foreclosed on more than 15,000 families in Wayne County since the government takeover by the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA). Thousands more have lost their homes in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Fannie and Freddie have declared a moratorium on foreclosures in areas stricken by Hurricane Sandy. Estrada and organizers from Detroit Eviction Defense argue that they should do the same for the metro-Detroit area, flattened by banking fraud, mass unemployment and the resulting storm surge of foreclosures. They are also calling on Fannie and Freddie to reverse their current policy of refusing to lower the principal on “underwater” loans where the balance owed is higher than the plummeting market value of the home.

A new report, “A Hurricane Without Water: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Foreclosure Crisis in Metro Detroit,” will be distributed at the hearing.

“The UAW sees the fight to halt foreclosures as part of its historic commitment to social justice for all working families,” said Estrada.

officials have committed to scheduling a discussion with UAW representatives, community leaders and public officials as soon as possible to review policy alternatives specific to the Detroit area. Organizers of the May 20 People’s Hearing will film the testimony and hand deliver the evidence to federal officials at a later date. Organizers look forward to hearing the response from FHFA.

Here are more details on Monday’s event:

What: People’s Hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foreclosures.

When: Monday, May 20, 4-6:30 p.m.

Where: UAW Local 600, 10550 Dix Ave at Wyoming in Dearborn.

Who: Sponsored by the UAW, Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO and Detroit Eviction Defense.

Media Contact: Steve Babson at (313) 605-7430 or [email protected]

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