To: John G. Stumpf
Wells Fargo: Turn This Home Over To A Community Who Cares
Dear Wells Fargo,
My name is Jessica English, and I am a responsible single mother of four, student, writer and dedicated worker. However, like one in four Americans, I earn a poverty wage for my industriousness and hard labor. Over the last two years I was unable to work for poverty wages and continue to afford the average rent for an apartment, transportation, food, or amazing things like medical care (I am sure that your bank employs plenty of people who could do the math).
Despite my hard work – stocking shelves, earning A’s in school, mowing lawns, cleaning houses, writing and publishing social commentary for Minnesota Public Radio, and coordinating volunteers - years of poverty left my family homeless. I had to pack all of my children’s belongings and my things and put them in one stall of my friend’s garage. The hardest issue for me, was having to ask my ex-husband to change our custody arrangement, so that he has them during the week and I parent them on weekends. Homelessness not only leaves people without their possessions, it separates children from their mothers.
Due to the negligence of your share holders, financiers, profiteers, and partners, coupled with the predatory nature of your dealings and lack of integrity, thousands of families in Minneapolis have had to leave their homes, communities and schools. Foreclosures not only rob families of their equity, they rob homeowners and neighbors of that which exceeds all monetary value - security, stability and community. Consider the damaging effects of thousands of foreclosures occurring simultaneously, stripping neighborhoods of their value, schools of their funding and leaving vacant homes in the wake. All of these travesties seem to have meant nothing to you in comparison to your bailed out profits.
Therefore, my family and my friends at Occupy Homes Minnesota have come up with the best solution to address Wells Fargo’s bankrupt business practices, the devastation of homelessness, and the blight of vacant homes. The home at 3325 South 2nd Avenue, had been broken into and was being used as a drug/party house. I spoke with the neighbors around the block and told them of a plan to move into the home, fix it up, and contribute (not take away) from the community. They are very supportive and are thrilled, especially after their experience with the last vacant home down the block that had been taken over by drug dealers, who were also using it as a place to house the violence of the sex trade.
We currently live in the home and have fixed it up. Hard work and sacrifice really make a difference. I, therefore, demand that Wells Fargo, in recognition of all that it has already displaced and removed from Minneapolis and in order to restore human decency and begin to repay its societal obligation, start by turning the home over to a non-profit to be used to house a poverty wage earning family, such as my own.
Jessica Kaye English
3325 S 2nd Ave
Why is this important?
29,000-39,000 children are homeless in Minnesota every night. Over 150,000 homes have been foreclosed in Minnesota, alone, since 2006! That is over 150,000 families who had to leave their communities behind and move. Minneapolis schools have lost 150,000 million dollars in public funding as a direct result of the foreclosure crisis. Yet, even after the bailouts, we are still having to pass legislation like the Home Owner's Bill of Rights through the Minnesota State Legislature to stop horrible banking practices like dual tracking, which is when the bank tells the homeowner that they are modifying the loan, while simultaneously selling the home in a sheriff's sale.