In face of rally, eviction canceled ... for now
By Jerry Kronenberg | Thursday, January 24, 2008
Subprime-mortgage firm Ocwen halted plans yesterday to kick a Dorchester woman and her three kids to the curb after some 50 protesters rallied to block the family’s foreclosure eviction.
“House by house, block by block, people are losing their homes and we have to fight!” Cheryl Lawrence of activist group City Life told a crowd gathered at the home of Melonie Griffiths-Evans.
Griffiths-Evans lost title to her house through foreclosure after falling behind on what she admits was a no-money-down mortgage.
Ocwen planned to evict the family yesterday, but backed down after protesters vowed to block the home’s doors even if doing so meant getting arrested.
“If they want to take me down to jail, I’m willing to go,” said Inez Mendes, a 64-year-old neighbor who’s facing eviction herself because her landlord fell into foreclosure.
Dave Grossman, Griffiths-Evans’ lawyer, said he got a call from Ocwen halting the eviction just moments before a constable had been scheduled to appear.
However, Grossman said the firm didn’t say how long the family can stay.
City Life wants subprime lenders to rent foreclosed homes back to former owners, or to sell properties to nonprofit groups for use as affordable housing.
Ocwen’s lawyer didn’t return calls seeking comment, but a company spokesmen said only U.S. Bancorp - which oversees an investment pool that owns Griffiths-Evans’ mortgage - can make such decisions.
However, U.S. Bancorp countered that it’s Ocwen’s job to handle foreclosure decisions.
Either way, Griffiths-Evans - who previously told the Herald she has nowhere to go - said activists who rallied to her cause “show that people can still connect in a world where we think everything has gone so wrong.”Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1068627