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Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:35 AM

A New Movement for Fighting Eviction

December 05, 2012

Everybody's Home
A New Movement for Fighting Eviction

In the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Van Nuys in northeast Los Angeles, houseless people like JoJo have barricaded themselves for more than ninety days inside the property line of the home of Hernandez family, aspiring to the fabled “middle-class,” to prevent the family’s imminent foreclosure eviction.

On this tree-lined street, a new kind of revolution has begun. (need better picture of street). Those without houses and their mostly unemployed comrades are risking arrest in defense of the Hernandez family’s home. The family and their unlikely new friends have come to a common agreement to implement Article 25 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights starting with the Hernandez home: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.”

In doing so, they have resisted sustained and escalating pressure from an international bank with a labyrinth of subsidiaries and enforcers, and two metropolitan police departments. And they’ve built an extended family.

The story of La familia Hernandez – at least until their resistance — is the same one that has decimated the dreams of working class families, disproportionately Black and Latino families, and it could not have done so more thoroughly if it had been planned. According to the U.S. Census, in 2006, Brown and Black families began closing the middle income gap with white families. Ten years earlier, in 1995, about 20% of white families were making between $50K and $75K, compared to just more than 14% of Latino and Black families. In 2006, that figure for white families had slipped to slightly under 19%, while it rose to over 15% for Black families and to more than 17% for Latinos. Companies like Countrywide lured these newly-prospering Latino and African-American families into subprime mortgages that were only feasible if both the families’ incomes and their homes’ values increased markedly and steadily in the first years of the loan. When the resulting housing bubble burst and the economy plummeted, families of color suffered foreclosures at twice the rate of white families, according to a 2011 report by the Center for Responsible Lending.


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