By Jacob Wheeler/ The UpTake
Two Minneapolis homeowners facing foreclosure are apparently getting very different treatments from U.S. Bank. Both have incomes that can pay a mortgage and are being supported by the Occupy Homes movement.
He is white and lives in South Minneapolis. She is black and lives in North Minneapolis. U.S Bank says he keeps his home, but she is about to be evicted.
Bobby Hull — the ex-Marine and embattled South Minneapolis homeowner, around whom Minneapolis Occupy Homes activists have rallied for three months — has reportedly beaten U.S. Bank. Occupy Homes and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) announced this weekend that Hull's lender has agreed to renegotiate his mortgage so that he and his family can stay in their home at 3712 Columbus Ave. South. The activists will publicly declare victory with a press conference at noon on Monday.
The celebration was short-lived, however. Occupy Homes and NOC learned on Friday that North Minneapolis resident Monique White — the first homeowner they defended last fall — faces a March 5 court date and an imminent eviction at the hands of U.S. Bank. Nearly 100 activists held a spirited rally and barbecue at White's house, at 3310 6th St. North on Saturday, to discuss how to continue defending her home. White, a single mother, currently works two jobs in the embattled neighborhood which has become the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis in the Twin Cities.
"They got a victory, we got a victory — what is it, one for one?" asked an enraged Bobby Hull, who was unable to discuss the terms of his mortgage renegotiation. "They give me my house and they take another? That's not what we're here for. We're not here to save my house or this house. We're here to stop the banks. We're here to make the wrongs right."
One activist at Monique White's house proposed using the race card in their battle with the banks. That is, while Bobby Hull is a white male, the homeowner now facing eviction is a single black woman, in a neighborhood where a whopping 51 percent of homes have faced foreclosure.
"It's incredible to us that they are interested in helping Bobby Hull in South Minneapolis with his case, and in North Minneapolis they think it's the right thing to do to evict Monique, who's in a similar situation," said NOC's Anthony Newby.
"What it looks like on the surface is that in one neighborhood, with one group of people they're willing to negotiate. And another neighborhood, in North Minneapolis, which is a different demographic, they're absolutely not willing to work with people. And we know some of that is true because North Minneapolis has the highest rates of foreclosure in the state of Minnesota."
"Monique is situated squarely in the middle of all of that. In the meantime she has the ability to pay, she has two jobs. She's not asking for a handout or a free house, she just needs a little bit of help."