In November 2009, a California woman named Rose Gudiel tried to make her $2,500-a-month mortgage payment two weeks late, and her bank, OneWest, refused the payment, instructing her to pursue a loan modification, which they eventually rejected. Guidel’s home was placed in foreclosure and in September of this year she received an eviction notice from Fanny Mae, her mortgage lender. Yet Gudiel, miraculously, is able to keep her home. Why?
According to MSNBC, “Nonprofit advocates say a series of bold protests — with reinforcements from the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement — and a spate of media interest put Rose in the limelight and forced the banks to back down.”
It’s worth noting that Gudiel began making late payments after her brother, Michael, who shared Gudiel’s home along with her parents, was killed in a drive-by shooting. At the same time, Gudiel “was temporarily earning less in her job with the California Economic Development Department after being furloughed because of the state budget crisis.” MSNBC reports, “Shortly thereafter, Rose Gudiel’s income returned to normal, and a second brother moved in to help with the mortgage.”
Gudiel continued to work through the loan modification process with nonprofit Association of Californians for Community Empowerment, saving the money she would have used to pay her mortgage each month so that she could make back payments should OneWest decide to accept them. Gudiel and her advocates describe the process as “impenetrable.” OneWest “offered no explanation as to why she failed to qualify for loan modification programs” and “it was impossible to find a contact to work with at Fannie Mae.”
When an eviction notice was placed on Gudiel’s door, she decided it was time to go public. The family agreed “they would not leave voluntarily” and “rallied loyal neighbors and friends who set up an encampment in her yard. A steady stream of advocates and volunteers brought in supplies and food, and TV crews showed up.” When the Occupy LA protest began on October 1, Gudiel “made an appeal at one of the gatherings’ first daily general assembly meetings.” By October 4, Occupy protesters “joined in a 200-strong protest with Gudiel in front of the $26 million Bel Air mansion of OneWest CEO Steve Mnuchin,” followed by a sit-in at the Pasadena branch of Fannie Mae the next day. While there, television crews captured Rose Gudiel’s disabled mother “giving an impassioned plea for her home.” Rose, her mother and seven other protesters were arrested, bringing even more attention to her plight.
MSNBC notes, “The next day, Rose Gudiel announced to a cheering crowd that she had received a letter from the bank inviting her to discuss a loan modification proposal.” Anti-foreclosure activists say that the Gudiels are not the only family to win back their home through such efforts, and that Occupy groups around the nation could use their muscle to help others in similar situations.
Photo and source: MSNBC