HOUSING, HEALTH, & HABITABILITY in OAKLAND
The Problem |Oakland is a majority-renter city with a large number of low-income households who face major problems securing decent housing. In 2011-12, almost one-third of tenants who sought help at four organizations providing tenant services faced habitability problems in their housing conditions. These habitability problems—most notably mold—pose...
Refund Oakland is launching a week of actions to call attention to the crises facing working families and local residents, who struggle with cuts to jobs and benefits and health-threatening deterioration in housing and neighborhoods. Oakland’s budget must protect housing, public services and education. The city of Oakland begins budget hearings to review Mayor Jean Quan's...
Martin Mercado had a huge victory at the Rent Board against a property management company represented by landlord lawyer Daniel Bornstein.
Martin and his brother moved in a studio apartment in the Mission District in 1993, but his brother was the only one who signed the contract and all...
Supporters, join us on the steps of SF City Hall on Monday, April 22 @ noon for a speak out by tenants facing eviction and displacement, and then on to the 2nd Land Use committee hearing for an amended condo conversion measure (the Chiu-Yee alternative) which would curb speculation and protect tenants from evictions.
Our families and long-time...
Five Arrested For Protesting DeMarco at House Financial Services Hearing
Shirley from @CVHaction repping #homes4all demanding principal reduction
Washington, DC—A group of 15 Americans in need of affordable housing crashed a Financial Services hearing on the Hill today, where FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco was speaking, to protest the Bush appointee’s failed policies and demand an end to his tenure. Five...
Saying that housing is a basic human right, about 75 protesters gathered in downtown Oakland Wednesday as part of the new Homes for All campaign. The grassroots movement, launched with similar events in 11 cities nationwide, asks President Obama and other elected leaders to develop a plan to expand and protect affordable housing.
ProPublica Ongoing Investigation
by Jesse Eisinger and Cora Currier, ProPublica, Jan. 2, 2013, 10:09 a.m.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, American taxpayers poured $187.5 billion into two huge but poorly understood companies: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Now controlled by the government, the companies play an even larger role in the economy than they did before the crisis...
Homeowners, Renters and Homeless families Unite For Secure, Affordable Housing For All
Fannie Mae wants Virginia Wooten and her son on the street by October 8. You hear “Fannie Mae” and think of a kind aunt that will do anything to help you out. Not this Fannie Mae. This Fannie Mae does not care that Ms. Wooten has been in her...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
What: Protest against Ellis Act Evictions
When: Weds., Dec. 19 @ Noon
Where: 18th & Castro at the Xmas tree
Who: Tenants facing evictions in 3 neighborhoods; Housing groups
We will be closed Monday, Dec. 24-Tuesday, Jan. 2. On Jan 2 our office will be open only from 1-5 PM. Below are resources if you are having a housing emergency over the holidays. Para español, haga una click aqui.
Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC)
1. Unlawful Detainer...
Manuel de Paz feels like a weigh has lifted off his shoulders. He has been fighting for his home for a long time. After being "dual-tracked" by Bank of America -- who tried to sell his Oakland home at auction in August 2012 while at the same time De Paz having an open loan modification application with the bank -- CJJC organized a raucous protest outside a B of A branch.[see story and details here]
The bank then assigned a "social media" representative to monitor the loan modification process.
It took four more months of back and forth with the bank, but this week of Dec.10, 2012, the bank offered De Paz a temporary loan modification at a low interest and thus lowering his payments.
This is a significant victory because De Paz declined to pay his mortgage on his home which is seriously underwater. He had been working long hours and was no longer willing to work 12-14 hours a day, two jobs, six days a week to pay the bank for a home worth a fraction of the mortgage.
De Paz, who provides social services to immigrants and refugees at a local church, understands the power of unity to fight for our rights.
In the ongoing battle to keep her home, there was a critical victory this week (November 27) with the judge placing the burden of proof on Freddie Mac. (Updated note: Action will be in Hayward: Monday Dec 3, click here for more details)
Nell Myhand, CJJC Homeowner Clinic Coordinator, applied for a loan modification and was turned down three times by Chase Bank.
Freddie Mac — who bought the house from Chase at auction — is trying to evict her, but Nell is determined that her she will remain in her home and continue to fight for an affordable mortgage.
Freddie Mac served her with an Unlawful Detainer. With a trial date set for early December, she and Michelle Kuhlman who is a lawyer representing her, have been preparing.
In the meantime, Freddie Mac filed a motion for summary judgment asking the judge to grant the order to evict based on only the sketchiest evidence.
The hearing was held on Tuesday, November 27. At the hearing, Freddie Mac argued that there was no reason for a trial because they have the note; a trustee's deed proving they bought the house at auction; and a 3-day notice to vacate. However, Attorney Kuhlman argued that the trustee on the note was different from the trustee at sale and that Freddie Mac has the burden to prove that the trustee at sale was authorized by showing the chain of possession of the title — which they had not done.
Judge Grillo agreed and rejected their motion for summary judgement! Not the final victory, but a critical one.
Nell says "I am very happy to have established that I will not be bullied or bulldozed out of my home of 12 years when I should have been granted a loan modification by Chase Bank."
She added, "I am humbled and filled with gratitude to have so much support in this fight my home. It shows the power of us coming together across issues, identity and other things that have been used to divide us but we are turning them into our strength"
On Monday, December 3, at 9am CJJC, Global Women's Strike, Haiti Action Committee, International Jewish Anti-Zionist network, a host of friends and family are calling for a press conference and rally on the court house steps where the auction took place to send a message to Freddie Mac that we are here to take our houses back! Why? Because we need our homes more than the Big Banks/ Freddie or Fannie need one more.
What: Rally for Nell and Sinthya's home!
When: Monday, December 3rd, 8:45AM
Where: HAYWARD County courthouse steps, 24405 Amador Street in Hayward
Why? Because we need our homes more than Big Banks, Freddie or Fannie need one more!
Housing and community groups join forces to push lawmakers to pass the Hassle-Free Housing Ordinance
What: Press conference and rally in front of SF City Hall When: Monday, Dec. 10 at noon
Why: To push lawmakers to pass the proposed Hassle-Free Housing Ordinance and to announce our disappointment that movement on this proposed ordinance has been delayed.
Who: Tenants speaking out against the growing epidemic of tenant harassment as an eviction tactic and the affect it has had on their lives.
Harassment is often used as a retaliatory tool when tenants assert their rights. Tenants should not fear that speaking up about illegal eviction attempts, habitability issues, or illegal rent increases would make them targets of harassment.
Harassment can affect all tenants in San Francisco and particularly impacts already-vulnerable renters such as elders, tenants with disabilities, immigrants, tenants whose primary language is not English and low-income tenants.
Hassle Free Housing Ordinance
The Hassle-Free Housing Ordinance will strengthen existing protections against tenant harassment by creating a clear and tenant-accessible avenue for enforcement.
Currently when a tenant is harassed by a landlord the option for enforcing protections under the Rent Ordinance is to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the landlord. Many tenants who come to housing rights groups for help because they are being harassed - low-income tenants of color, seniors, tenants with disabilities, immigrant tenants - do not have the resources to hire a lawyer and so the harassment continues until the tenants decide to leave.
The Hassle-Free Housing Ordinance will make it possible for a harassed tenant to get help without having to hire a lawyer. The proposed ordinance will reclassify harassment as an illegal eviction tactic and allow the rent board to hold hearings to verify if harassment is taking place. Additionally, tenants can continue to take their claims for any damages incurred by the harassment to Small Claims Court.
The hope is that by using both the Rent Board and Small Claims court, tenants will have an avenue to more effectively address harassment and protect their rights to stay in their homes.
Organizing and persistence works. The auction of the Bottom family home of 50 years is cancelled and Bank of America has offered them a permanent loan modification at 2% for 40 years!
Patricia Bottom Long advises other foreclosure fighters: “If you can get an advocate like Just Cause/Causa Justa to stand with you… it makes all the difference. Before that, I felt alone but when I had someone to bounce stuff off of and CJJC’s Nell [Myhand] was great with resources, I was able to speak with people who actually listened, [CA Atty. General] Kamala Harris, and [Congresswoman] Barbara Lee, (D-CA), the fact that we were able to speak to those people made all this possible.”
Patricia can now rest easy -- knowing her mother will not be evicted at any moment. She can unpack the boxes stacked throughout the house as she awaited eviction of her mother at any moment.
Mrs. Vida Bottom has lived in her Oakland home for almost 50 years. Mrs. Bottom was forced by serious illness and other financial crisis to close down her restaurant business and couldn’t keep up her mortgage payments. She applied for a loan modification THREE times and on each occasion was turned down.
The loan Bank of America sold her was predatory and then they tried to foreclose and sell the home at auction.
Mrs. Bottom has since reopened her business and with her daughter appealed for help “to find a way for me to live out the rest of my years in my home.” The date of the house auction had been set for November 28, 2012.
A look at the loan documents reveal that on one day in 2008 the bank made two loans to Vida Bottom, 78-year old Black grandmother with a modest income. One loan was a $356,000 10-year balloon loan. The other was an interest-only loan for $417,000 with an adjustable rate that would start adjusting in 2013.
“It was obviously a predatory loan,” says Oakland Homeowner Clinic Coordinator Nell Myhand, who sent off a letter to B of A last week saying as much. Meanwhile, Patricia filed a complaint with the Office of Comptroller of the Currency.
On April 3, 2012, Nell wrote a letter in support of the Bottom family to Brian T. Moynihan, CEO of the Bank of America imploring him to resolve issue of an mortgage for Mrs. Vida Bottom.
On October 29, 2012 after several attempts by B of A to auction the home Nell wrote a letter to Donald Layton, CEO of Freddie Mac the investor on the loan who has the final say in whether or not a loan modification is granted insisting that he take action to correct the injustice that was being done to Mrs. Bottom.
After looking through the loan documents, Nell wrote another letter to Brian Moynihan suggesting that by a reasonable person standard the loan was predatory and that Bank of America should work with the family to help them keep the home.