Ruby Brown of North Minneapolis won a renegotiated mortgage from Bank of America, just days before her home of 17 years was to be auctioned off in a sheriff's sale. Her settlement marks the fourth negotiated victory for Occupy Homes MN, the activist group formed to help troubled homeowners in the Twin Cities area fight to avoid foreclosure, and homelessness.
Brown fell into foreclosure after years of struggling with inflated payments in an adjustable rate mortgage — a predatory lending practice which is now illegal. She eventually received a trial modification and complied with its requirements for 12 months, but was dropped from the program anyway. The confusion surrounding her modification prompted her to ask the question: “The people at the top (of Bank of America), do they really know what’s going on?”
Brown began working with Occupy Homes MN and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change six months ago. Like others who have taken the pledge to stay in their homes, she felt her shame dissolve. “It generated a fight in me,” she said. “I didn’t realize there were so many people in the same situation, that it wasn’t just me.”
Ruby Brown has a message for others going through similar situations:
“Come out of the foreclosure closet. You know, there’s help. There are people around the country that are fighting. There’s power in numbers. There are a lot of people going through the same thing. There’s no shame in what is going on. It’s not your fault. It’s an epidemic, and we have to fight for the antidote.”