Still No Results After Weeklong Occupation of Foreclosed Home
With the help of Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and Cobb United for Change Coalition, with many South Cobb members, one Marietta man is continuing his occupation of his foreclosed home in hopes of being able to reside there again.
Homeowners across the nation are struggling, but more on average are in the struggle here in Georgia, the nation's leader in foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac, one in every 300 houses in Georgia is going through foreclosure, compared to one in 639 at the national level.
Occupy Cobb, an offshoot of Occupy Atlanta, is helping homeowners fight for their homes. Cobb United for Change Coalition and Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is helping Steve Boudreaux, an unemployed homeowner, fight for his Marietta home.
"We want to make Cobb County a welcoming, inviting and unifying community," said CUCC representative Rich Pellegrino of Austell.
"Let's make it clear: Housing is a right, a human right," Pellegrino continued. "All over the world it's viewed as such, why not here in the richest country on Earth?"
The groups are helping Boudreaux stage a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week occupation protest of his foreclosed home. Since the occupation began Monday afternoon, Boudreaux said he's heard nothing from his bank, Wells Fargo.
Boudreaux bought his home five years ago, and since then, he has faced financial hardships. In late 2011, he applied for an emergency loan modification from his bank Wells Fargo in an effort to remain in his home.
On June 5, his home was included in Cobb’s foreclosure auction, despite his repeated requests for Wells Fargo to postpone the auction sale date until they received his tax transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service.
Boudreaux said the IRS faxed the necessary documents the day after his home was foreclosed.
He said his only goal is to have his loan modification approved so that he can continue living in his home.
Wells Fargo Home Lending-Home Equity Spokeswoman Veronica Clemons said Wells Fargo is the servicer on the loan only.
“We have no further connection with the property. It’s (now) the responsibility of the investor,” Clemons said. The investor is the company, which guaranteed the loan.
She said Wells Fargo works to help homeowners stay in their homes.
“Foreclosure is a last resort,” Clemons said.
However, Boudreaux tells a different story.
“They had a very clear opportunity to do something about this. It sounds kind of (sic) disingenuine to say, ‘At this point, there’s nothing we can do about it.’ They had a clear chance to do something about this and they flat refused. Flat refused. I don’t know where they at leaves me now,” Boudreaux said.
According to Boudreaux, after he fell three months behind on his mortgage payments, “Wells Fargo brought the hammer down” on him and would not consider any arrangement other than full payment.
But Clemons said the bank has been working to help Boudreaux reach affordability since 2009, he applied and was approved for his home loan modification. This loan modification was his second in two years.
“This is not a deadbeat issue. I’m not trying to get out of my obligation. I think Wells Fargo was not negotiating in good faith.”
Boudreaux wants to live in his home again, and he also hopes his story may inspire others to fight for their homes as well.
"I hope the good that comes from this includes me getting to stay in my home and helps other people have a better chance to stay in their homes. Maybe it will help someone say, 'This does happen here (in Cobb) and he stood up and I can stand up.'"
“Our neighborhood and other neighborhoods need people living in the homes,” Bordeaux said. “This isn’t a liberal (or) conservative, Democrat versus Republican, believer versus nonbeliever issue. This issue cuts across all groups. We’re being forced out of our homes for no good reason,” Boudreaux said.