Jeremy Helton on Thursday, Dec. 22nd
The recently reported story of a looming foreclosure on the home of an Iraq War veteran in Atlanta (below) has a happy ending. Brigitte Walker had been attempting to get Chase Bank to modify the loan on her home since her medical retirement from the army as a result of combat-related injuries in 2007. On Dec. 6, Occupy Atlanta initiated a series of actions across metro Atlanta including protests at county courthouses and occupations at the homes of Georgians in danger of foreclosure including Walker.
Occupy Atlanta conducted two press conferences, a national call-in day, and a march on Chase Bank in the two weeks since December 6. Chase Bank has finally conceded to a loan modification that will enable Walker to keep her home. The news comes just weeks before the scheduled Jan. 3 eviction of Walker and her family.
Original story 12.13.2011:
As more protests on behalf of foreclosed homeowners take place throughout the country, Occupy Atlanta seems to have found a rallying point that is attracting support and participation from a wider spectrum of Georgia residents. A week has passed since Occupy Atlanta began its occupation of foreclosed homes, and for some Georgians, their participation in a protest or occupation is the first time they are engaging in political and economic activism.
“I made a gradual entry into the Occupy Movement,” said Gwinnett County resident Deborah Storm. “I began reading stories and watching the Occupy Atlanta chat live. Then I had contacted Tim Franzen from Occupy Atlanta to ask if anything was going on in Gwinnett County.”
It was through Occupy Atlanta that Storm learned of Kenneth Glover (pictured below) who has been trying to negotiate a review of his recent eviction. “I’ve assisted Kenneth Glover in his fight for his home in Gwinnett County,” says Storm. “I went with him to the initial eviction hearing, which was granted and then filed a motion the following week to review the eviction hearing as well as file an appeal of the eviction.” Glover made payments on a modified mortgage for four months before being notified by Chase Bank that his home had already been sold.
“The motion to review the eviction hearing was denied, but the appeal was granted, which allows him to save his home for the time being. I actually wrote up the motion to review in my own handwriting with Kenneth approving and signing. Kenneth also filled out a form to see if he could be granted an appeal with no fees since he should have qualified due to income and expenses, this was denied,” said Storm. In the meantime, it appears that by lending Glover a hand with his own housing woes, Storm inspired him to join her and small group of Occupiers in a recent protest at a their local courthouse.
Riverdale, GA is another new front for the movement in Atlanta. Its home to Iraq war veteran Bridgitte Walker. Walker, whose spine was crushed in 2004 by mortar rounds, was forced into medical retirement from the army due to the limited mobility caused by her injuries. “[The retirement] drastically reduced my income and so I was not able to maintain as I was before,” says Walker. “As I was facing my hardship I’ve been in contact with Chase [Bank] since the very beginning [of the foreclosure] and for some reason they just won’t help me.”
When the bank notified Walker that they would take her home on Jan. 3, she wrote a letter to Georgia Senator Vincent D. Fort who in turn called on Occupy Atlanta spokesperson Tim Franzen.
“One of the things that has happened over the last 10 or 11 years since I’ve been [investigating] predatory lending and foreclosure eviction issues is I get calls,” says Fort. “I get two or three calls [from homeowners] a week and they’ve increased over the past few weeks because of what Occupy Atlanta has been doing. I feel like it’s my responsibility to get them all the help that I can. I said ‘OA, Occupy Atlanta, this is something we’ve got to get with.’ So we met with Ms. Walker.”
When asked what the support of Occupy Atlanta means to her, Walker responded, “I’m proud that they’re willing to support me. I think it’s power in action. And their actions are very powerful.”