Status: Partial Victory – Still in their home
Victory Details: The Lee Family has been able to pressure their bank, RBS Citizens, to cancel a pending eviction. However, the bank has not yet agreed to a permanent solution that keeps the Lees in their home.
(The complete story of what led to their current situation can be found on their OOH campaign page here: http://start2.occupyourhomes.org/petitions/citizens-bank-don-t-take-the-lee-family-home)
The Lee family, of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, is working with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign in a fight to stay in their home, which was taken by RBS Citizens bank as part of a long process that involved the declining mental acuity of Mr. Lee’s mother, who first purchased the home in 1967, and a home-improvement loan made during the surge of predatory lending in communities of color in the early 2000’s. (Read more after the flip.)
Following that, the bank took a pattern of action sadly familiar to millions of families foreclosed on since the beginning of the Great Recession involving lack of communication, a predisposition to move directly to foreclosure, confusing paperwork, changing demands, and legal proceedings done without notification of the appropriate parties, in this case Timothy Lee, the son of Mrs. Lee.
The result was sale of the home at foreclosure auction, where it was bought by the bank itself. Now the bank, despite years of failing to work or communicate in good faith with the Lees, is seeking to evict them.
However, the Lees are not giving up. Instead they are fighting back with CAEC and Occupy Our Homes. Just before Christmas 2013, the Lees launched a campaign on the OOH website and with support from CAEC, quickly reached over 1000 supporters (there are currently 3423 petition signers). The Lees and CAEC mobilized their supporters to call the RBS CEO, demanding the Lees be kept in their home during the last week in December. Then they delivered the petitions to the bank headquarters.
All this work is paying off. On January 3rd, Citizens bank dismissed their eviction filing against the Lees, leaving them in the home that has been in their family for 47 years. However, this is not a permanent solution. The bank can refile the eviction at any time and has not been willing to work out a solution that keeps the Lees in their home.
If you are facing the same kind of fight as the Lees – having a bank steal your home out from under you – you can start your own campaign here and get support from experienced campaigners to help you win. http://start2.occupyourhomes.org/partnerships/home-defenders-league