Every 13 seconds another family in America faces foreclosure, a grim statistic that symbolizes the depth of the crisis that lies at the heart of the economic meltdown.
One of people caught up foreclosure crisis is West Oakland resident Tosha Alberty. A County Transportation Services Coordinator, she has been fighting with First Franklin Home Loan Services for months to save her home, but the bank has not negotiated in good faith. In fact, it has pursued foreclosure.
But with the help of the ACORN Home Defenders, she has successfully fought off eviction, most recently on Thursday June 25th. The Home Defenders mobilized an emergency home defense and were joined by many of her neighbors, ACORN members, and local elected officials including Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks and representatives from Councilmember Nancy Nadel’s office and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson’s office., By blocking the house’s entrance, they first stopped the locksmith from changing the locks, then they refused to let the sheriff take Tosha Alberty’s home.
This wasn’t the first time the ACORN Home Defenders stopped Tosha from losing her house. Twice previously Home Defender mobilizations stopped evictions and allowed her to enter negotiations with the bank with the help of ACORN Housing’s HUD certified counselors to keep her in her home and modify her loan so she could afford to stay. Despite actively negotiating the case, First Franklin refused to call off the eviction, so ACORN Home Defenders mobilized for the 3rd time on Thursday in an emergency Home Defense.
Joining in the defense was Oakland City Council Member Desley Brooks, honoring a pledge to join with ACORN made at the beginning of its Home Defending campaign back in February. She put her promise into action at this home defense, joining the Home Defenders in risking arrest to stop the eviction. In addition to Home Defenders were joined by representatives from Nancy Nadel and Keith Carson’s offices, and City Council members Jane Brunner and Rebecca Kaplan also expressed their support and willingness to help.
One of the most powerful moments of the action came when the locksmith arrived. After learning of the situation, he told the ACORN Home Defenders that he would stand in solidarity with Tosha and not change the locks – that the sheriff would have to get someone else to do the job!
When the sheriff’s deputy finally arrived, he pulled up and saw public officials, neighbors, and ACORN’s Home Defenders ready to stop the eviction. Instead of following through, he took a picture and drove away. Shortly after that, Rodney Brooks of Keith Carson’s office confirmed that the sheriff had postponed the eviction. They would not evict on Thursday.
But they can return at any time.
The ACORN Home Defenders will continue to defend Tosha’s home and press the bank to engage in meaningful negotiations. They will not allow the home to be taken without a just solution.
If you live in the East Bay, Oakland ACORN is looking for people willing to be Home Defenders – not just for homes in Oakland, but around the East Bay. We are holding civil disobedience and Home Defender trainings on Tuesday, June 30th at 6pm and Thursday July 2nd at 6pm. For more information, contact Claire Haas at chaas [at]acorn.org or 510-434-3110 x 502.
You can also follow Oakland ACORN’s Home Defender actions on Twitter @OaklandACORN and our work on Thursday was featured on the National ACORN Facebook page at www.facebook.com/acorn.