Occupy Homes MN
Even as Nick Espinosa found himself gravitating towards the Occupy movements galvanizing the nation, he never thought it would get so personal. Just a few months after the reorganization of the movement into smaller cohorts, including the establishment of Occupy Homes, Nick found himself defending not just others’ homes, but his own as well.
“We found out that we were going to have a sheriff’s sale and it was just completely devastating for my mom,” explains Nick. “It came as a complete shock to me that the house I grew up in, the house I lived in for sixteen years could be sold back to the bank and that we could lose it.” As a young college graduate working diligently to empower his community, Nick hardly fits the stereotype associated with persons facing foreclosure, an image that has long shamed communities into silence. But, as Nick describes it, foreclosures affect more than just individuals, they affect entire communities.
Occupy Homes MN has two main goals. The first is to tackle foreclosure issues on a case-to- case basis to immediately prevent unjust evictions. The second, and perhaps more difficult aim, is to reform the way big banks do business. Occupy Homes specifically targets corporations that have traditionally set policies promoting profits at the expense of individuals. Beginning with Monique White’s landmark victory in North Minneapolis, Occupy Homes has worked diligently to get banks to see the families behind each loan. Through this work, Occupy Homes aims to eradicate predatory lending practices. Efforts like these successfully translate the energy and fervor of the national Occupy movement into tangible action.
Since its inception, Occupy Homes has successfully brought banks to the table and renegotiated several individual mortgages. “With the help of Occupy Homes MN, we were able to build enough community support to pressure the bank to take a different course of action. We were able to negotiate a loan modification just 20 hours before the house was scheduled to be sold.” And in the end, Nick saved his own home.