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Ravenwood Eviction Defense: Week 2 Update and Preparation for Week 3

UPDATE: TWO WEEKS OF VICTORY!

The Lennon-Griffin family is still in their home at 9 Ravenwood Avenue in Rochester after two weeks of protests despite attempts by Fannie Mae to forcibly evict the family. First on Monday, March 14, then on Tuesday the city marshal (on behalf of the Federal National Mortgage Association, aka Fannie Mae) was scheduled to execute the eviction of the family of 11, but the combination of protests, eviction blockades, eviction watches, strong community support, and a news media presence was enough for the marshal and the bank-hired movers to halt the eviction.  Since Wednesday, March 16, there has been an ongoing Eviction Watch Encampment to keep a watch on the house and neighborhood and to notify neighbors and news media if any steps are taken to evict the family of 11 from their home. Last week's eviction watch culminated in Anti-Eviction Community Potluck and Barbecue on Friday to celebrate and build on the successes so far. 


Rochester Independent Media Center: Week 1 of the Eviction Defense
 

Fannie Mae thought this would be their typical eviction and their threats of forcible removal would cause the family to flee with their heads down. However they didn't count on the family fighting back with the support of the neighbors and Take Back the Land Rochester.  Then Fannie Mae thought they could wait out the family and protesters and evict them the next morning. However, this resistance is not measured in hours or days but in weeks.  When people fight on the basis on principle (housing a human right), need (a family's need to avoid homelessness), and community empowerment (neighbors helping neighbors keep up the quality of their neighborhood) they become a force more powerful.  We have already demonstrated that if we come together for justice in housing, we can make a difference. 

WEEK 3
Week 3 (March 28-April 1) could be the decisive week in this struggle.  Take Back the Land allies have made indirect contact with Fannie Mae and Fannie has indicted that the warrant of eviction will expire on April 5.  This means that if the eviction is not carried out by that day, in order to continue the eviction Fannie Mae would have to go back to court and start the process over again.  We think it is highly unlikely that Fannie Mae will take this route, which means Fannie Mae will either settle or attempt to forcibly evict the family very soon. 


In order the prevent the eviction the family and Take Back the Land  Rochester are calling on the community to continue the Eviction Watch Encampment all week from 9am to 5pm--the times the eviction can be executed in New York.  In order  for the family to come a comprehensive settlement where they can stay in their home we are continuing to work with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Chuck Schumer to pressure Fannie Mae to negotiate with the family.


WHAT YOU CAN DO
Eviction Watch

You can sign up for a shift anytime Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm at the house on 9 Ravenwood.  Even a half-hour or an hour is helpful.  You can stop by anytime but contact us at 585-653-8362 or takebackroc@riseup.net if you can schedule your shift ahead of time. 


Make Calls to Step up Political Intervention

To defend the family from eviction you can call the following people to voice your support for the family:

Rochester Mayoral Candidates

Mayoral candidate Alex White at 585-315- 7687

   Thank for his support
Mayoral candidate Bill Johnson at 585.465.9370
   Come out publically to support the family and stop the eviction

Mayoral candidate Tom Richards at 585-697-0924

    Come out publically to support the family and stop the eviction

U.S. Congress
Representative Louise Slaughter at 585-232-4850
    Pressure Fannie Mae to negotiate
Senator Chuck Schumer at 212-486-4430
    Pressure Fannie Mae to negotiate


Rochester City Council
Neighbor and Councilman Dana Miller at 585-428-6048

   Thank him for his support and tell him to keep on the city marshal to not carry out the eviction this week as the family   attempts to negotiate with Fannie Mae

Rochester City Marshal
City Marshal Responsible or Eviction: Sande Macaluso at 585-544-4888
   Respectfully tell him not carry out the eviction this week as the family attempts to negotiate with Fannie Mae

Be Ready to Mobilize
The city marshal could show up any day this next week and if he does we are going to call for an emergency mobilization to keep the family in their home.  So far our protests have been tremendously successful in keeping the marshal at bay.  We'll need your support if he comes again.  Bring a friend! 

BACKGROUND

For the last 7 years, Catherine Lennon and her family of 11 have lived at 9 Ravenwood Ave. After Catherine’s husband died of brain and lung cancer, their mortgage lender Countrywide (now part of Bank of America), refused to renegotiate the mortgage, sending the family’s house into foreclosure. In 2010, Countrywide turned the house over to Fannie Mae and now Fannie is seeking to evict a family of 11 (including 7 children ages 2 to 11).The Lennon-Griffin family and their lawyer have been trying to contact the Fannie Mae and Steven J. Baum (Fannie's law firm) for over 8 months in order to negotiate and get the house back.  So far they have been unresponsive. 

The Lennon-Griffin family and Take Back the Land Rochester are calling on Fannie Mae to immediately suspend the eviction and negotiate 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 put 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 these banks.