Take Back the Land Rochester
Take Back the Land Rochester believes that housing is a human right, not a commodity. We believe that land and housing should be controlled by the community, not the banks. In order to elevate housing to a human right and secure community control over land we defend people from foreclosure-related evictions and assist homeless people to move into vacant, bank-owned homes. In this process we are wresting land from the control of the banks and turning it back to our community in the form of community land trusts—where land can be taken off the speculative market. As long as housing occurs at the whim of the banks and the market homelessness and poverty will plague our community forever. In short, housing should be for people not for profit. That's why we're taking back the land!
New Campaign Campaigns
HALT THE EVICTION AND SUPPORT THE HOMELESS OF SANCTUARY VILLAGE IN ROCHESTER, NYOn Friday, December 19, the City sent in a team of workers to dismantle Sanctuary Village. Despite a promise to not force eviction until December 28 (They wanted the homeless to disappear before the downtown New Years Eve fireworks), they went back on their word, bulldozed all the belongings of many homeless residents of the village and put their few earthly possessions in a giant dumpster. Truly a sickening site. Many homeless were tricked into leaving their tents for the weekend (by obtaining 2 days of shelter in a hotel offered by the county) knowing that their belongings would still be in their tents for the week. This was not so. 4 homeless risked their lives by staying in their tents. The others lost all they had. For some moving details, go to the following link for some powerful video of the heartless destruction, as well as moving pleas by Sr. Grace of the House of Mercy, and Ryan Acuff. http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/104412 In August 2014, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks took the drastic step of shutting down the de facto shelter of over 30 years at the Civic Center Garage where 30-50 homeless people found refuge from the harsh elements on any given night. This could have been a positive move if alternative shelters or permanent housing for the chronic homeless were made available. Instead this action amplified an already dire situation for the homeless who were put out in time for winter with no alternatives in place. After more than 18 months of negotiations with both the County and City officials by members of the House of Mercy and St. Joseph's House of Hospitality, Monroe County government continues to praise themselves for their homeless services while scores freeze in the cold. The City of Rochester refuses to repeal §120-64. of Ordinance No. 2012-363 of the zoning code which prohibits homeless shelters downtown. The message is clear, downtown is open for business but closed for homeless. We are coming together to call for the end of the criminalization, harassment, and abuse of the homeless. and an end of the war on the poor. We calling for a Homeless Bill of Rights, which is a historic opportunity for the City of Rochester to distinguish itself as a model of municipal foresight and compassion. We are also calling for the recognition and the right to housing for all in the city of Rochester and Monroe County. These demands are backed by international laws such Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), and Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).4,290 of 5,000 SignaturesCreated by Julie Gelfand
Wells Fargo, Don't Evict Vet and his Children Before Christmas!My name is Joseph Martinez. I am a United States military veteran, and a single parent of Phillip and Joseph Jr, aged 11 and 4. The Rochester City Marshal has informed me that I will be forcibly evicted from my home as early as December 9th. On April 1, 2014, I signed a year lease for 189 Alameda Street. Approximately two months ago, I found out that the house I live in was being foreclosed. Despite presenting a copy of my lease to Wells Fargo, I was informed that the bank would be trying to evict me on December 8, and they wanted me to pack up and leave. Not honoring my lease is in direct violation of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. For me, having a stable home in a positive environment is crucial for raising my children. Having to move would surely create instability. In addition, being so close to Christmas will add additional stress both financially, physically and emotionally. As a veteran I would expect Wells Fargo to be understanding and support me in my wish to stay at least to the end of the lease. I chose Alameda Street because of the proximity to an excellent school with a great sports program where my son, Phillip, can thrive. One month ago I was given sole custody of Phillip, and being able to provide a stable environment for him was one of the deciding factors for the judge. It would be unfair to my son to have to pack up three weeks before Christmas with no home to move into. I am asking Wells Fargo to call off the eviction and negotiate with me so that my sons and I have a place to live for Christmas and beyond. If they will not grant my request, I will be working to peacefully defend my home with the help of Take Back the Land Rochester and other members in my community.908 of 1,000 SignaturesCreated by Julie Gelfand
Wells Fargo: Don't Evict George Douglass from his home!My name is George Douglass. When my wife and I purchased a home in Rochester, NY in February 2008, it was a dream come true. It was to be a haven of stability and security. Yet that dream has now turned into a nightmare. Despite my best efforts, despite ill health, and despite my ability to make payments, Wells Fargo has foreclosed on my home and an order of eviction is in effect. In 2008, my wife and I were both employed by the Hyatt Regency Rochester Hotel where I had been working for eleven years. She was also attending nursing school and we were raising two children. Our lives seemed stable and the future bright. Then in May 2009, like so many others after the banks brought the economy down, I lost my job due to cut backs. I was able to get unemployment and a temporary job that lasted six months, but hard times took their toll. Shortly after the job ended, my wife and I divorced and she moved out of the house. My health declined, the unemployment checks ended, and my wife was no longer there to help pay the bills. Now in my 50's and suffering from health issues, finding employment was a challenge. Looking at hard times ahead, I applied for a loan modification. Nothing came through. I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, severe hypertension, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, and pulmonary sarcoidosis (the autoimmune disease that contributed to the deaths of Reggie White and Bernie Mac). After bureaucratic delays, I was finally approved for disability. In May 2011 Wells Fargo took over my mortgage and made no effort to work out a plan with me. Only one month later, they opted to aggressively foreclose on my home with the help of the now disgraced N.Y. foreclosure mill attorney Steven J. Baum. Wells Fargo went through hard times, too, but when they were struggling, they received massive bailouts from U.S. treasury, totaling up to $50 billion. Even though my home is on the line, I am not asking for a bailout. I am just asking Wells Fargo to allow me to continue to pay a fair monthly amount so I can remain in my home. I believe this to be both a moral question and an issue of justice. Houses all over Rochester lay vacant and in disrepair due to unjust foreclosures. I will remain in my home. I am asking Wells Fargo to withdrawn the eviction, and am working with Take Back the Land Rochester to launch a public campaign to shine light on Wells Fargo’s unjust practices. I join with them to oppose the mass evictions being carried out after foreclosure by the banks, causing untold suffering to thousands of people and dragging down our communities.279 of 300 SignaturesCreated by Ryan Acuff