Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign reclaims and repairs foreclosed, vacant property; former Cabrini resident and her kids will move

 *Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign reclaims and repairs foreclosed, vacant

property; former Cabrini resident and her kids will move in, with support of
the campaign and local community *

Chicago, IL – Today at 1:45pm, in the Park Manor neighborhood, Martha Biggs
and her 4 children, displaced like so many others from Cabrini Green, and
currently homeless, will be moving into a house, 2 years vacant and
foreclosed on by one of the top 4 banks responsible for home foreclosure in
Chicago: Deutsche Bank. Martha and her children will be joined by their new
neighbors, members of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and others fighting
for housing as a human right, as they move in furniture, towels, bedding,
and other items donated by their very supportive neighbors. The group will
also prepare for possible opposition by police or other city authorities,
though the legal case against this property, as with 1,700 others in Cook
County, will be brought back into court due to fraud committed by the law
firm Fisher and Shapiro, who were retained by many of the big banks to
process foreclosures, icluding Fannie Mae.

Given the current state of housing in Chicago—numerous foreclosures and
systematic evictions from public housing–Martha and members of the campaign
argue that this is the only course of action that makes sense. According to
the 2010 census, Chicago’s housing vacancy rate was 12.5%, and with 10,000
foreclosures filed every day in the U.S., and banks refusing to work with
homeowners or tenants, that number is likely to increase everywhere.
According to the Woodstock institute, over 99% of homes lost to foreclosure
since 2008 have gone back to the lender, and not to a family. Because these
mortgages were federally insured, the public has effectively bailed out the
bank in each foreclosure and thus the banks have no incentive to work with
homeowners or tenants in foreclosed properties. Meanwhile, the state and
city continues to receive funding for modification programs with which the
banks need not comply, and for programs to address vacancies that community
groups cannot access.

6 weeks ago Martha Biggs joined up with skilled campaign members like
Alvaro Tellez,

who successfully fought HSBC to keep his home. They trained volunteers, and
got to work on one of these vacant homes, repairing damage resulting from
vandalism, including drywall, plumbing, and painting. They did all this work
with financial and material donations procured by the campaign and
community. While this is just one house and one family, the group hopes to
inspire other community groups to reclaim land and housing in their own
communities, and to think critically about how this crisis is part of a
recurring cycle of displacement and dis-empowerment. They also want to force
the city to get serious and act—hopefully to work with the community members
impacted by foreclosure, eviction, and unemployment, and to stop diverting
millions of dollars of public resources to institutions who are not invested
in those communities–at the same time claiming that there is no revenue to
fund public housing, schools, clinics or job programs. Martha Biggs has
committed to fighting for this house and her new community, and while it may
be just one property, it’s also a long hoped for home for her family.

As Pat Hill, community member and co-convener of IYPAD (International Year
for People of African Decent) Chicago put it:

“*We are truly proud of the good citizenship shown by these young people.
The land truly belongs to the people, not the government, not the banks.
What these young people have done is proper and correct and that is evident
by the community’s overwhelming show of support. It’s time for the people of
Chicago to come together on behalf of one another” *

*What: Reclaiming of a vacant, foreclosed home by a homeless family and
community group*

*When: Today, June 17th, 1:45pm*

*Where: The corner of King and 72nd street, near Meyering Park. *