St. Paul, MN - In a packed hearing room, more than a dozen legislators heard testimony March 14 on proposed legislation to put a moratorium on home foreclosures and the eviction of tenants from foreclosed properties. Representative Karen Clark and Senator Scott Dibble, authors of the ‘Foreclosure Moratorium, Neighborhood Stabilization & Tenant Protection Bill’ (SF1521 and HF1886) chaired the hearing. The moratorium bill is an initiative of the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout (MCPBO).
Those testifying at the hearing included Cherrene Horazuk, Chief Steward of AFSCME Local 3800, Peter Brown of the Minnesota Tenants Union, Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee, Anthony Newby of Occupy Homes, Mel Reeves of Occupy the Hood and homeowners who have or are currently facing foreclosure, including Rosemary Williams, Bobby Hull, Ruby Brown, Peter Eisert and John Vinge.
Deb Konechne, a spokesperson for the MCPBO, testified, "This bill, which has been introduced in the House and the Senate, would place a 2-year moratorium on home foreclosures and a 2-year moratorium on the foreclosure related eviction of renters from foreclosed property."
She added, "This bill is a plan to keep Minnesotans in our homes. It also protects renters who too many times end up paying rent and a damage deposit without knowing the property is in foreclosure, only to be evicted through no fault of their own, only a few months later."
Rosemary Williams recounted her dramatic fight to keep her home. She said that when sheriffs evicted her and her family from her home in 2009, the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout helped move her back in. William’s called for politicians to pass the moratorium law.
To date, Republican committee chairs have refused to hear the Moratorium Bill. “Today’s people’s hearing served notice on them. We will carry forward the fight for a moratorium on foreclosures. We will continue to challenge politicians that serve the banks and big business,” stated Mick Kelly of the MCPBO.
Stacey Kemp, a Minneapolis homeowner gave her take on the hearing, stating "Stopping foreclosures means keeping our neighborhoods healthy and strong. The unemployment and underemployment rate has been bordering on 20% for a very long time. Working families that have been the core of our neighborhoods and communities are losing their homes because of an economic crisis caused by the 1%. I support this public hearing to demand that the legislators protect our interests - not those of the privileged few."
Video from the press conference preceding the people's hearing on the foreclosure & eviction moratorium