Will and Heather Sirotak have come to the end of the long journey through the courts that marks many family’s experience with foreclosure. They’ve represented themselves before a judge, and shown how their foreclosure was not legal, mired as it is in the many questionable procedures banks have used throughout the financial crisis to shuffle thousands of foreclosures through their systems. But the court ruled against them, and the foreclosure has moved forward.
So, the end of that journey marks the beginning of a new one. This morning, October 29th, 2012, is the day the Sheriff’s eviction order becomes effective. Any day now, the Sheriff and his deputies could arrive to remove them from their home. But Will and Heather aren’t leaving. With the help of their community, they are resisting eviction.
This turning point is a crucial one. The Sirotak’s are leaving behind the false promise of justice in a court system un-critical of the bank’s role in the crisis. At the same time, they are taking a more fundamental stand: Individual families can no longer shoulder the burden of this crisis. Banks must be held accountable. Until they are, and there is justice for homeowners, not one more home should be taken.
The Sirotak’s story lies at the crossroads of the housing crisis and America’s broken healthcare system, two trends that appear over and over in families’ struggles in the foreclosure crisis. Healthcare costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US. And when the housing crisis crashed the economy, indirectly killing hundreds of thousands of jobs, but directly eliminating many people’s livelihoods who work in the housing industry.
When Heather was diagnosed with cancer. The proscribed hysterectomy was not covered by their insurance, which called the situation a “pre-existing condition”. With massive medical bills looming, the Sirotaks refinanced their home, a choice thousands have been forced into.
Then Will lost his job and a housing construction manager, as a direct result of the economic collapse.
They tried to work with the their lender for a modification but their lender would not work with them. Instead they were fast tracked into foreclosure and their house was sold from under them. Their house was sold for below market value, an amount they could afford to pay if they had been given the opportunity to modify.
Today, neighbors and community supporters gathered in front of their home for a press conference. Will and Heather told their story to those gathered, and then began a quiet vigil, awaiting the Sheriff, and the call to supporters to help defend their home.
If you’d like to support Will and Heather sign up for the Rapid Response Network. The Rapid Response Network will show up at a moment’s notice to support homeowners who are being evicted. You can sign up by sending this text message @ploc-openrrn to the number 23559.
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