DETROIT — “Fannie Mae is running from Detroit because they know the truth,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, describing Fannie Mae’s withdrawal from a Detroit hearing on foreclosures last May, which was co-sponsored by the union.
“Fannie Mae has no offices in Detroit, so we’ll caravan to Chicago on August 20, and deliver the testimony they refused to hear first hand,” added Estrada, who will also send video and documentary evidence to Fannie Mae’s headquarters in Washington.
The caravan to Chicago will leave from UAW Local 600 in Dearborn, Mich., to deliver the evidence gathered at the hearing, and will include activists from Detroit Eviction Defense and the United Steel Workers “Summer of Solidarity Tour.”
In addition, allied groups in Chicago, led by the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, will add their voices to a planned protest of the fraud and predatory practices that are foreclosing on thousands of homeowners in Chicago and Detroit, undermining the tax base and driving both cities further into debt.
“The UAW sees the fight to halt foreclosures as part of its historic commitment to social justice for all working families,” said Estrada, who hopes the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, will consider policy alternatives that address the dire circumstances of Detroit and other cities.
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 Metro Detroit, 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 report on these policy issues, “A Hurricane Without Water: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Foreclosure Crisis in Metro Detroit,” is available at http://www.detroitevictiondefense.com/
Activists in Detroit and Chicago are focusing their protests on Bank of America (BoA) as well. BoA, one of the major banks servicing loans owned by Fannie and Freddie, has acknowledged past failures – if not fraud – in handling mortgage modifications and foreclosure. Despite pledges to improve procedures, abusive practices continue according to critics. Protesters in Detroit and Chicago will also draw attention to the casino-like bets that BoA and other banks have used to entrap cash-starved cities into “interest-rate swaps” that favor the banks.
Here are more details on Tuesday’s event:
What: Caravan to Chicago to Protest Policies that Hurt Homeowners and Cities.
When: Tuesday, Aug. 20, gather at 7:30 a.m., leave at 8 a.m.
Where: UAW Local 600, 10550 Dix Ave., Dearborn, corner of Wyoming.
Who: The UAW, United Steel Workers “Summer of Solidarity Tour,” Detroit Eviction Defense.
Media contacts: Michele Martin, UAW Public Relations Department, 313-926-5291.
Steve Babson, Detroit Eviction Defense, 313-605-7430.
Toussaint Losier, Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, 215-837-4071.
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