Community Outreach/Foreclosures WG Minutes 02.16.12


Online Resources
info on 1930’s tenant movement. Some tactics may be relevant.

focus on anti-eviction rather than anti-foreclosure, makes the housing bubble the real culprit

notes from 2/2/12 mtg
Above has lots of info about helping folks stay in their homes

Above enables homeowners to ask their lenders to show them their mortgage note via a form.

Maestro Call Registration Link for This Call:





Welcome & Introduction

Introduce facilitation team
Call Host:  Occupy Houston
Call Facilitators:  Amy Price
Maestro Board Manager(s):  Amy Price
Note Taker(s) :  Giselda Rendon
Briefly list topics review topics and call structure (note ability for breakouts)
Brief Procedural Comments (see Call Participation Guidelines at bottom, # 5 especially)
Communication using phone keypad (review numbers 1-5)<br />

1 – Get on Stack <br />
2 – Agreement, applause & approval for current speaker – wiggly fingers <br>
3 – Disagreement with current speaker’s comments<br />
4 – Direct response to current speaker<br />
5 – Point of order or tech assistance<br />
Be concise so many can speak.  Limit comments to 90 second rule (tone is signal to wrap it at 75 seconds).
Say “check” or  “I yield” after comments so we know you are finished
Direct Participants to the Agenda & Notes (copy and paste to Participant dashboard)
<a href=””>OH Foreclosures Call Agenda&Notes </a><br>

Main Meeting
Present: Erica, Michael, Jim, Miguel, Jim, Amy, Folko
Facilitator: Amy


Erica on Freedmanstown: Erica followed up last week on investigating building ties and community with Freedman’s town.  Wants to meet with Lenwood Johnson, a longtime activist there who has long ties with the community, at 7pm Monday at the neighborhood association.  Giselda and Erica will go to discuss issues and opportunities in Freeman’s town as individuals but not as spokespeople for the group. Erica spoke with Delbert, who has been active there and meeting with churches.  He says there is a lot of sympathy for occupy in the neighborhood and chance for not only residents being active in an occupy cause but for occupy to help with neighborhood needs and struggles.  Recommends visiting churches in the area.

Michael on media: Media in Mission Bend – didn’t find a fannie mae office here,  compiled a list of standard media organizations but none that are mission bend.  (amy) Even with a small amount of people we could make a media stink at a bank/office.

Folko: Posted a link from the 30s era of eviction struggles, inspiring to read and informative, it is on the workgroup facebook page.


Giselda regarding Samual and Dawn/mission bend:  The family has recently decided they need to prioritize legal measures to keep their home. It would be great if a few people from occupy – not just Giselda – could meet with the family to encourage them as far as our commitment to help with mass action/occupation/publicity and that that is a feasible option or at least one worth trying, because courts aren’t exactly geared to help people in these cases.  Erica, King, Giselda, maybe Miguel (with transportation help) might meet with Samual. Giselda will refer Samual to Burke, his info is in the notes from the last meeting,

Erica: Read in occupyourhomes anti-eviction campaigns need to focus on asking the bank to reduce the value of the principle and to sell the house back to the x-owners at the price that they would sell the house in the market, but the focus would be resist displacement and demand homes back to market value. Organizing around refinancing is not efficient because every refinance situation is different, we want to press the bank to let the x owner have the house at market value, has to do with focus on negative equity, ex. if they got the house at 200,000 and the house is only worth 100,000 – how occupy our homes can win is the name of the article. got good articles on forecolusure prevention, campaign in boston and other towns. fight for principle reduction.


Amy:  this weekend we have a lot of planning, first Friday planning meeting to figure out what we need to be effective, what do we want to actually accomplish as a movement, Sunday we have another meeting to answer those questions (and it’s also a GA) great time to find a direction this weekend and focus.

Erica: meed to talk about that in our workgroup first, not planning meeting, we need to do more research, planning meeting would just be reporting on what we’ve been doing.  thinking we need to read more on how other people have struggled in foreclosures and what the situation is and what is possible to do.  We also need to think about neighborhood to work in.  Freedman’s town is close by but it could be another place as well.

Jim: one simple way to find foreclosures is look at databases online, find zipcodes with more foreclosures, go to the area, grocery stores, barbershops, etc.

Miguel: we could put ad in craigslist, houston press

Erica: is efficient way to find foreclosed zipcodes. Problem is in most foreclosed listing people are already gone, not still fighting to stay. When we research best neighborhoods, let’s not just look at  foreclosure rates because they happen everywhere but places with a sense of community

Miguel: possibly find rich benefactors to buy properties to then sell or lease to x-owners at reasonable rate (Michael) in many campaigns, like Boston, the focus is to get landbanks to do that kind of thing, be the middlemen and pressure the banks to sell to them.

Amy: we should look into county landbanks, the lists that we had before was just bank of america foreclosures for houston area and beyond, one place there seems to be a lot in was the spring area, at least two occupiers there and not as far out as mission bend

Amy: Want to bring up an idea of larger vision, we’ve been working from action to action, now might be the time to start thinking more broadly, decision to act on kind of a neighborhood basis.  What Occupy Portland has done is divided portland into 5 sections to work.  if we could focus on certain communities, be occupiers instead of legal referals, canvass door to door, tie in foreclosure to the banks, corporate personhood, connect with other neighborhood forces, Houston urban gardeners, bicycle concerns, guerrilla gardeners, how we can better a neighborhood. if we have a choice it’s wise to start in a neighborhood where an occupier has ties, so we have a reason to be there not just come in and say “we’ll make your neighborhood better”.

Folko: let’s think systematically, try to find communities with high rates of foreclosures, thinking about neighborhoods and community is a good direction.


Amy talked to Occupy Austin, we’ve had some cross-pollination, a member there would like to connect with occupys around the country about foreclosure.  Several occupiers – Jamin, Capitol, Carl, were at a seiu event yesterday and lot of seiu folks want to connect with us and have resources, including bodies, blockwalking and other resources.

Michael: this could be the future direction for occupy, we should not hesitate to talk about it on Friday (i think, connection went bad – Giselda)

Miguel: city is working on some measures  that might have the effect of displacing people under the guise of urban improvement, gentrification (or a similar word) could/should be a big focus of occupy.


Giselda and Erica will meet with Lenwood Johnson on Monday.
Giselda and Erica and King can meet Samual when he agrees to a time.
Miguel, Folko, and Erica will help with freemdmans town investigating.
Researching patterns of foreclosure in Houston: Jim, Miguel, Giselda
Amy will do a decision tree.
Miguel will try to be on Occupy Texas call at 6pm next Thursday to see if it’s worth moving our meeting time.

Closing Comments
Need volunteers to be Maestro tech assistants – stand up and be counted!  Maestro has increased our call capability to 10 simultaneous calls.

OH needs help maintaining this weekly call. Please go through Maestro introductory training to facilitate
Basic Maestro 101: Tuesdays, 6PM Pacific, 9PM Eastern (2 hours)

and advanced training to tech this call
Advanced Maestro 201: Wednesdays, 6PM Pacific, 9PM Eastern (2 hours)

Big thank you for the note takers
Ask for feedback to improve call. Send to with subject “General Call Feedback”
Tone indicates the end of call.  Those who wish to remain and chat will be on open mic for 30 minutes