Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Protesters with Occupy Homes Minnesota raised their voices Monday against a bank set to foreclose on two homes in south Minneapolis.
The group marched to the offices of Chase Bank in downtown to demand the bank negotiate with two longtime homeowners who could lose their homes. Protesters blocked off city streets waiting for a representative from the bank to speak with them.
“We are about to march into the streets to keep our families in their homes,” said Cat Salonek, with Occupy Homes Minnesota.
The group’s numbers grew as they marched through the streets of Minneapolis, stopping by offices of lawyers they say protect the big banks responsible for taking homes from average Americans.
“We really want to stay in our homes, we’re a valuable part of our community,” said Jaymie Kelly, who is facing foreclosure.
She has been in her home for 33 years. She says she was tricked into a predatory loan after her husband died. She is awaiting a judgment from eviction court and could be out of her home in a week.
It was Kelly who got her neighbor connected with Occupy Homes.
“She was going through the same process with the same bank, so that’s when we were, like: Woah, if we can still do something, let’s do it; lets stand up for our homes,” said Jonathan Ceballos, who is also facing foreclosure.
Occupy volunteers actively live with the Ceballos family. Sheriff’s deputies went to evict them two weeks ago.
Two protesters were arrested, but the Ceballos are still in their home. Occupy protesters are trying to help them stay there.
“Not only was the Ceballos family dual tracked, but Jaymie paid five times the value of her home,” Salonek said.
Protesters tried to speak with Chase managers Monday, but were turned away.
They left balloons and a message behind, then staged a protest outside the building in the heart of downtown. Occupy Homes say it is committed to defend people against unfair evictions.
Protesters say they will march through the eviction-free zones in the in the neighborhoods of Powderhorn and Central Monday night to make sure Kelly and the Ceballos homes stay with the families until a deal with the bank can be negotiated.
How does Occupy Homes decide which families to help?
Occupy says they work with families that banks have said they would they will work with and then turn around give them an eviction notice. Basically, they work with any family that the group thinks has been treated unfairly by the banks.