Family's Eviction Called Off After Occupy Rochester, Other Protesters Plan to "Occupy" Their Home

Here's a heartwarming story of the 99% (in this case the Steidel family) using nonviolent protest to score a victory against the 1% (Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac):

After the Steidel family received a foreclosure notice in September, Maria Steidel contacted Take Back the Land Rochester, a group that successfully helped another family stave off eviction earlier in the year. Over the past few weeks, Take Back the Land, Occupy Rochester, and other protesters have worked tirelessly to help the Steidels keep their home, calling on Wells Fargo to negotiate with the family. Here's Take Back the Land's account of the some of the many actions that took place:

In the past two weeks, numerous protests and actions were organized to support the Steidels in the fight to keep their home. An impromptu press conference was held just as Rochester Mayor Richards appeared, media in tow, to sign an agreement with Occupy Rochester for our right to camp 24 hours a day.

On November 7, 90 people protested outside Wells Fargo's Rochester offices, demanding they negotiate with the family. Three dozen protesters from Occupy Buffalo also demonstrated in front of the Amherst offices of Steven J. Baum PC, denouncing the controversial foreclosure attorney and calling on state authorities to shut down his office, take away his law license and even put him in jail.

The next step was going to be "occupying" the home -- setting up an encampment on the front yard to "prevent the imminent eviction and draw media attention to the case." But it never came to that:

Harold and Maria received word that they had secured at 30-day suspension of the eviction notice. Furthermore, Freddie Mac announced that they were pulling Steven J. Baum's firm off every foreclosure case they had.

The implications of this move on other families and their cases is unclear. However, Baum's firm was one of the largest handlers of foreclosures in upstate New York, and any uncertainty over the company's legal practices and filings could mean a delay on thousands of foreclosure cases.

Victory! Sometimes the little guy does win. And hopefully other protesters and homeowners will be inspired by these actions and will take matters into their own hands as well.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at November 28, 2011, 6:08am

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