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Ideas for Organizing At-Risk Homeowners Best Practices

Working off Lists

There are ways to buy lists of people going through foreclosure or who are underwater on loans.

Caution: These folks are approached by scam artists everydayso the work should be done doorto-door.

Most Recorders of Deeds and Courthouses have records of properties to be auctioned off, as well as those recently sold.

Newspapers also list impending sheriff sales and foreclosure actions.

There are many borrowers whom social service agencies cannot help.
It is worthwhile, though admittedly difficult, to build relationships with social service providers who are very protective of clients.
The emergence of Occupy will help with this but its important to: Go in with a specific plan for these families to fight rather than meekly face foreclosure. Be respectful, courteous, and put in the time to build trust. Discuss successful examples of eviction defense/home reclamations

Some Agencies to Approach

If we can put flyers out through schools--we should.
City and State offices, unemployment offices if those still exist

Housing counseling Agencies

Homeless and transitional housing service providers

United Way Agencies and/or the labor support center for the United Way

Unions, particularly those like the building trades with high rates of unemployment among their membership

Organizations providing job training or other classes

Other Strategies
General Canvassing
Going on the Radio Doing Actions that Get Press
For neighborhoods with high foreclosure and underwater percentages, general canvassing or door-knocking might surface enough borrowers.

African-American or Latino radio Bring it up in the context of a Winter Strategy You will need a hotline number with a machine and a good system for returning calls

Good press possibilities if you engage in direct action against lenders (or the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) To hear from families facing foreclosure: create a link to email for help on your home page along with a hotline number.

Organizing At-Risk Homeowners


Hi, my name is (Name) and Im with (Organization). We are a group working with homeowners having issues with their mortgage with (Bank).

Organizing At-Risk Homeowners


What has your experience been dealing with (Bank)?

Have they been difficult to work with?

What is happening with your mortgage right now?

Are you facing foreclosure or eviction? When is the sheriff s sale or eviction date?

What will you do if you lose your home? How will that affect you and your family?

Organizing At-Risk Homeowners

Your story is exactly why were doing this work. While average families have been struggling with their mortgages, big banks like (Bank) have been bailed out by the government and have recorded record profits.

Have you been offered a bailout? Do you think its fair?

Organizing At-Risk Homeowners


What do you think it would take to save your home?

Stop the sheriff s sale/eviction?

What if you had 50 people, family, friends, and allies that came and stood with you and refused to leave until (Bank) works with you in a fair way?

What if it were 100 people?

Organizing At-Risk Homeowners

Talk through the issues

Raise the possibility of starting small and escalating. Look at the press from December 6th Answer questions. Dont overcommit. If people cant really camp out at the house until the situations is resolved then say what you can do. Make sure families understand and are committed not just to themselves, but to the 99%

Organizing At-Risk Homeowners

Do you want to fight to save your home?
Would you be willing to talk to your neighbors about whats happening? Would you be willing to have a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters come and camp on your lawn / stay in your house until (Bank) agrees to a solution?

Different Types of Action

Auction Protest
Basic Description
Protest at foreclosure sale auctions to discourage purchase by any investor who intends to evict. We want resale to owner.

Alternative Type
Loud with numbers. Seek to postpone. Seek to appear threatening. Smaller. Bear witness. Engage with investors.

Different Types of Action

Basic Description
Candelight and other vigils in front of someones house to mobilize neighborhood support.

Alternative Type
Solemn, candles, testimony, draw out neighbors Set stage for blockade. More militant and spirited.

Different Types of Action

Bank Pickets
Basic Description
Picketing in front of bank branch offices downtown and in neighborhoods.

Alternative Type
Large , well planned. Small and frequent. Constant Presence. Questions Will there be action inside? Are you Willing To Risk Arrest?

Different Types of Action

Bank Functions
Basic Description
Protests and bank dinners and events, such as sporting events, chamber of commerce meetings, any place where the bank would like to have good PR.

Alternative Type
Is Goal to Disrupt? To Be Visible Presence> Does event require large turnout & planning? What is narrative that counters bank story?

Different Types of Action

Basic Description
Protest at moment of eviction where some sit in door way and risk arrest. 28 blockades called since Jan. 2008. Arrests 3 times.

Alternative Type
Questions All blockades are last minute (48 hours +)

Will anyone risk arrest?

Importance of individual case vs. moment?

Different Types of Action

More Options
Basic Description
Use a variety of nonviolent tactics to prevent the sheriff from coming in

Alternative Type
Community meeting Community based rally, or series Occupation

The Occupation Itself

A lot of the occupation itself in eviction defense can be rather dull. Some things can build energy:
Holding General Assemblys at the house on a regular and advertise basis Creating work groups: Actions, cleanup, neighborhood relations, media (both talking with press and creating our own videos and stories.)

Make it visible: signs and banners and art are important Make it fun: host activities for neighborhood kids, teach-ins, etc

The Big Picture

Stay in touch with and we will post your stories and videos and host calls that keep you in touch with home occupations across the country.
Know that we will be able to help some families keep their homes, and others not, but that this a long fight against the 1% and the banks.

We need a fair system, so keep your eyes on the larger demands, and continuing to emphasize that struggle.

Occupy Our Homes Toolkit

8 X 11 I am not leaving sign.

11 X 17 I am not leaving sign.

Sample Letter to the Bank


Still need help? Sign up for a Conference Call hosted by the experience organizers at ACCE.