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"Occupy" group tries to prevent another eviction

Members of UAW Local 600 say they'll protect Fred Shrum's house from eviction.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Members of UAW Local 600 say they'll protect Fred Shrum's house from eviction.

The “Occupy our Homes” movement has taken up the cause of Fred Shrum, another homeowner facing foreclosure in Metro Detroit.

The group is a coalition of anti-foreclosure groups, organized labor, and other activists with the Detroit “Occupy” movement.

So far, their protests on behalf of people facing foreclosure have helped keep four Metro Detroit families in their homes—including one case where protesters blocked a dumpster that came to clear out the house.

Those families were able to re-negotiate terms with their lenders.

Now, the group wants to help Shrum. The Dearborn Heights homeowner sought a mortgage modification when he had to take a pay cut and undergo surgery.

But after what he calls a long and confusing back-and-forth with mortgage servicer Wells Fargo, Shrum didn’t get the modification--and now faces eviction. But he plans to resist that and stay in his home—with help from the “Occupy” group. About two dozen showed up to show their support on Tuesday.

Still, Shrum says he’s packed a few boxes, “Because I heard that they’ve actually thrown people out. So if you look in my living room, I have boxes all over in case it gets nasty.”

Shrum faces an eviction hearing Thursday.

“Occupy Our Homes” organizer Erik Shelley says the movement is drawing attention to the circumstances behind foreclosure—and so far, that’s proved to be a spotlight banks want to avoid.

“So when the banks come to take one of these houses, if we tell them 'No, we’re gonna stand up to you,' they move on,” Shelley said. “And I think that’s gonna be true as we move forward.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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