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Eviction Protest and Blockade Stalls Eviction for Second Day, Eviction Watch Encampment Called for Rest of the Week

On Tuesday March 15, 2011, neighbors and community members gathered to protest the imminent eviction by Fannie Mae of the Lennon-Griffin family from their home. For the second day in a row the eviction was canceled by the city marshal keeping the family in their home.

On Tuesday the city marshal and the Fannie Mae-hired moving team were scheduled to show up at 10:00am to execute the eviction and move out the family's belongings. At 10:10am the moving team notified resident Catherine Lennon that they would show up in about 30 minutes. When moving truck showed up about 10:40am they were met with protesters, four people locked down and blocking the entrance to the home, and a flurry of news media. At this point the Uhaul decided to keep driving and parked around the block. Knowing the eviction could happen any moment a standoff ensued for about an hour and a half where the moving truck waited to see if the protests and news media would disperse. With the protesters and news media dug in at 9 Ravenwood, the moving truck retreated from the neighborhood about 12:00pm. At that point the family and Take Back the Land Rochester declared a temporary victory.The marshal and the movers did not show up at 9 Ravenwood the rest of the day and could not be reached by Lennon-Griffin family. The family says they plan to stay in their house on Tuesday night.

 

Protestors Say Their Presence Keeping Widow in Her Home (Fox)

For the rest of the week the Lennon-Griffin family has called for a permanent Eviction Watch Encampment during daytime hours when the eviction could be executed. This encampment will keep watch on the house and neighborhood and notify neighbors and news media if any steps are taken to evict the family of 11 from their home this week. The encampment will also include a video camera to tape any relevant activity made by the City against the house. In the meantime efforts will be made to put pressure on Fannie Mae in Philadelphia to withdraw the eviction and negotiate.

 

 

For the last 7 years Catherine Lennon and her family of 11 have lived at 9 Ravenwood. After Catherine’s husband died of cancer, their now defunct mortgage lender and government bailout recipient, Countrywide refused to renegotiate the mortgage, sending the family’s house into foreclosure. In 2010, Countrywide turned the house over to Fannie Mae and Fannie is now seeking to evict a family of 11 (including 7 children ages 2 to 11). The family has no place to go and one of Catherine's daughters and her two year-old grandson have already moved into a homeless shelter in preparation for the worst.

 

The Lennon-Griffin family and Take Back the Land Rochester are calling on Fannie Mae to immediately suspend the eviction and renegotiate a reasonable settlement where the longtime residents can stay in their home and prevent the disintegration of entire family to homelessness. After reclaiming the home the family has aspirations to place the house into a community land trust where the house can be taken off the speculative housing market and used for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.

 

Take Back the Land Rochester believes that housing is a human right and that a family's right to quality housing is more basic than a corporation's right to make a profit. Take Back the Land Rochester is calling on Bank of America (the corporation that absorbed Countrywide) and Fannie Mae to be accountable to the public that spent billions of dollars to bailout the banks.