Foreclosure Fighters to rally at Sheriff’s office today

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Fannie Mae uses public funds to have armed security guards in empty home

after coordinating with Sheriff Staton to evict the Austin family

 

PORTLAND – The Sheriff has launched a new attack on families fighting foreclosure in Portland. At the behest of Fannie Mae, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton along with 12 deputies and 10 Portland Police forcefully evicted the original Portland eviction resisters – Debbie and Ron Austin. The Austins and the housing justice community are taking this fight back to the Sheriff’s door with a rally today at the Multnomah County Building at 501 SE Hawthorne at 3:30pm. 

On Wednesday January 16, at 5am, just after Ron Austin had gone to work, Debbie Austin and her two children awoke to the sound of the Multnomah County Sheriffs and Portland Police banging at their door. The armed officers entered the Austin’s home at 4207 NE 77th Avenue, and forcibly evicted them. Fannie Mae, the government- backed mortgage broker coordinated with the Sheriff for the eviction and has now placed an armed private security force at the house to guard this empty home. Prevailing wage for private security indicates that a 24-hour armed guard at the home costs taxpayers approximately $480 a day. 

Fannie Mae controls over half the mortgages in the US and was involved in the national housing collapse. In a report on Fannie Mae earlier this year, the New York Times reported, “During the housing boom, they misused the government’s support to enrich shareholders and executives by backing millions of shoddy loans. Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers.” 

We Are Oregon has partnered with a national housing justice group, the Home Defenders League, to demand that Fannie Mae stop all evictions. There is a meeting scheduled between this national coalition of housing defenders and Fannie Mae tomorrow morning in Washington DC. 

The Austins are the most recent eviction by the Sheriff. In November of last year, Darren Johnson and his wife Patricia were forcefully evicted from their home on Oct 30th but, with community action, moved back in on Nov 20th. They are still living in their home. 

Darren Johnson, who spoke at a press conference at the Austin’s home last November said, “I’m here today to tell you that when the Sheriff comes, that’s not justice coming, it’s the banks coming to take our homes.” The last time the home defenders rallied at the Sheriff’s office, after the eviction of the Sirotak family on Election Day, Sheriff Staton locked his offices and left the building before community members arrived. 

“We need the Sheriff and the City to step up as leaders in confronting this crisis.We need meaningful city policy that seeks housing justice: keeping people in their homes, filling empty homes with people who need shelter, and putting community housing needs before bank profits.” said We Are Oregon spokesperson Kari Koch.

We Are Oregon and the rest of the housing justice community have been working to support families in foreclosure for over a year. These home defenders are in various stages of foreclosure, and 6 of the families are publicly resisting standing orders to leave their homes by order of a court, the city or the Sheriff.

More information at www.weareoregon.org

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