Detroit homeowner Jennifer Britt stands in defense of her home in the Rosedale Park district in Detroit. Britt along with supporters are refusing to move out of the home as ordered by Fannie Mae. (Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Joe McGuire, 313-969-7076
Steve Babson, 313-605-7430
Neighbors and Supporters Start Vigil to Oppose Fannie Mae Eviction of Jennifer Britt.
Senators Stabenow and Levin Seek Solution
What: Vigil at home of Jennifer Britt in opposition to Fannie Mae eviction
When: Continuing Friday, July 20, and thereafter, until resolved
Where: 15701 Warwick St. at Midland, Detroit’s Rosedale Park, south of Grand River
Who: Neighbors, community advocates, union members, and faith-based advocates allied with the Eviction Defense Committee of Occupy
Supporters of Jennifer Britt and her family are mounting a vigil that will continue Friday and next week to oppose Fannie Mae’s court-ordered eviction of Jennifer and her family from their home in Detroit’s Rosedale Park. Senators Levin and Stabenow are questioning Fannie Mae’s actions.
Flagstar Bank refused to modify Jennifer Britt’s mortgage and foreclosed in 2010. Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage company under federal receivership since 2008, compensated Flagstar with taxpayer money and took possession of title. It now has an eviction order from 36th District Court to vacate the Britt home at 15701 Warwick Street.
“I think I’ve done everything you could ask of me to keep my home,” says Britt, who exhausted her life savings on escalating mortgage payments to Flagstar after her husband died and she was temporarily unemployed. She is now working two jobs and Southwest Housing Solutions, a non-profit housing group, has offered to buy the Britt home from Fannie Mae and keep Jennifer’s family in their house. Fannie Mae rejected the offer, which was based on the home’s appraised value, and insisted it would sell for no less than the $121,000 it paid Flagstar.
“Fannie Mae is harming taxpayers in Detroit and nationally,” says attorney Joe McGuire, who is representing Ms. Britt. “There is no buyer who will pay that amount in this depressed housing market, so this absurd position insures that another home will go empty and blight the community, causing harm to Jennifer and her family as well as her neighbors.”
Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have intervened in the case on behalf of Ms. Britt, calling on Fannie Mae to account for its refusal to sell the home on favorable terms that would keep the family in their home. Critics of Fannie Mae point out that it has routinely sold repossessed homes to investors for less than market value, but refuses to do so for Jennifer and other homeowners facing eviction.
The Eviction Defense Committee of Occupy began its vigil at daybreak on Thursday with 45 people massed in front of the home. More than 100 neighbors and supporters joined the vigil over the course of the day, and continuing shifts of supporters are signed up to continue the vigil over the next week. A timeline of the Britt mortgage and foreclosure process is appended.
Flagstar first foreclosed when Jennifer’s husband Leon, a member of UAW Local 600, died in 2006. The home was temporarily in default and Jennifer paid $26,000 from her husband’s life insurance to restore the loan that was still registered in his name.
Flagstar raised monthly payments over the next 2 years from $1,550 to $1,750, but refused to put Jennifer’s name on the mortgage, even as it accepted her payments.
When Jennifer lost her job in 2008 she continued paying while asking for a loan modification. Flagstar refused, saying her name wasn’t on the mortgage— then raised her payment to $1,975. Jennifer paid Flagstar a total of $46,000 since 2006, depleting her savings. She and Leon together paid more than $100,000 for the house.
Flagstar foreclosed in 2010 and Fannie Mae took over the title after paying Flagstar the remaining balance of the mortgage plus the penalties and fees heaped on top. Fannie Mae has secured a court-ordered eviction to remove the Britt family from their home.
Jennifer now has two jobs and Southwest Housing Solutions offered to buy the house at its appraised value and sell it to her on favorable terms. Fannie Mae refused: it wants $121,000 for a house worth little more than 1/10th that amount.