Son and Occupy stave off foreclosure on Minneapolis mom

Citibank has called off a sheriff’s auction of a home belonging to the mother of one of Occupy Homes MN organizers says a press release from the group that has been fighting the foreclosure for months.

Colleen McKeen Espinosa is the mother of Nick Espinosa, who has been organizing actions to prevent foreclosure on Minnesota homes. Espinosa’s mother was reluctant to accept help from the group because she felt “humiliated” by not being able to make the payments on her Minneapolis home. She said she overcame that shame when she came to realize it was the banks, not homeowners that should be ashamed for the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

Occupy Homes MN says the agreement allows her to stay in her home and reduces her monthly payments by one-third.

The home was scheduled to be sold at sheriff’s auction tomorrow (June 13). 

The UpTake has called Citibank for comment, but so far they have not returned our call.

Click here for an earlier story on the fight to save Colleen McKeen Espinosa's home.

Press release from Occupy Homes MN

Citibank Cancels Foreclosure Auction of Minneapolis Mom’s Home; Commits to Loan Modification With Reduced Payments

Minneapolis, MN — After a several month campaign pressuring Citibank to negotiate with Colleen Mckee Espinosa and a last minute blitz of social media, petition signatures, and calls to the office of CEO Vikram Pandit, Citibank canceled a scheduled sheriff’s sale and approved a loan modification for the Espinosa's home. An official with CitiMortgage’s Executive Response Unit contacted the Espinosa family with news that Citibank had approved a loan modification that would keep the family in their home and reduce their payments by one-third on a 7.5 year payment plan. The dramatic news came less than 24 hours before the house was to be sold at auction on Wednesday, June 13.

“I’m so relieved that my family’s home of 16 years will not be on the auction block tomorrow,” said Colleen McKee Espinosa, a nurse and single mother who received widespread support after she pledged not to leave her home without a good faith negotiation. “We are grateful that Citibank has decided to accept my payments, and we look forward to signing the final paperwork.”

Allies from around the country, including OccupyOurHomes.org and Occupy Wall Street, as well as Mckee Espinosa’s union the Minnesota Nurses Association, helped to rally support for the family.

“I am deeply grateful to everyone from across the country who stood with our family as we fought our foreclosure,” said Nick Espinosa, Colleen’s son, and an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. “I’m inspired by the outpouring of community support, and it renews my commitment to stand with other families who are struggling to stay in their homes.”

“I’m incredibly proud of what this family has accomplished,” said Anthony Newby of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. “They’ve managed to rally hundreds of community members to stand with them to save their home. Their campaign will undoubtedly empower other families to stand up and do the same.”

Colleen Mckee Espinosa continued, “When I first learned we were in foreclosure, I felt ashamed and isolated, and sure we were going to lose our home. As I resolved to fight, I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of. If anyone should be ashamed, it’s the banks for tearing apart our communities after we bailed them out with our tax dollars. When we stand together we can win, and I believe thousands more will.”

Nick Espinosa continued, “This negotiation represents a victory not just for our family, but for millions of families facing foreclosures across the country. Countless families could stay in their homes if banks simply modified their loans based on the actual market value and reduced their principal, instead of the price to which banks inflated them before they crashed our economy. As with Monique White and Bobby Hull here in Minneapolis, and others standing up across the nation, we see that when a community stands behind a family and draws attention to their case, the banks are more than capable of solving it. If they can fix it for our family, they can fix it for millions of others.”

Occupy Homes MN is organizing to support other homeowners in situations similar to Colleen Espinosa. They continue to work toward a solution for the Cruz family in South Minneapolis as well as suburban homeowners like John Vinje & Lucinda Vinje-Adams, and Frank & Christina Clark. To learn more about their work, visit occupyhomesmn.org or call 612-460-STAY.

(Note: The video at top was recorded was recorded before the Citibank agreement.)

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Jacob Wheeler's picture
Jacob Wheeler