As gazes were fixated on the space shuttle Endeavour flight in the skies above, the Gutierrez-Perez family and their Occupy allies announced a key victory this morning in the struggle to keep their Anaheim home.
Earlier this month, an eviction notice was served effective September 2 on their residency on the corner of Ralston Street and Romneya Drive, but almost three weeks later no members of the Orange County Sheriffs Department have come to carry it out.
Hopefully, after new developments have surfaced, they never will.
"Occupy LA, Occupy Whittier and Occupy Anaheim mobilized and occupied this home for almost two weeks," Carlos Marroquin of Occupy LA said this morning during a press conference held on the lawn of the house. "We engaged with U.S. Bank representatives and Ocwen financial services. Yesterday we learned, after several days of contacting officials with both financial institutions, that they are no longer interested in evicting this family," he added.
"They sent a loan modification package and have decided to work with the family to keep them in their home."
Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, as servicers of the loan, promises that a letter regarding a stay on eviction will be forthcoming shortly. With the news, there was a palpable sense of excitement and relief among family members.
"We are very happy, thank God, that the bank is going to do a modification," Eluteria Gutierrez told the Weekly as she also thanked Occupy activists for their help. "I'm going to be able to return to making my house payments and living peacefully. We are going to try to forget this nightmare."
In the course of the struggle, Occupy activists also decided to examine how widespread this issue was above and beyond the Ralston Street home. According to their research of the 92801 zip code where it resides, there are 716 other houses in default and 200 in foreclosure in the predominately Latino area of the city.
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"We feel such a relief that the bank has now agreed to give us a loan modification, but this fight is far from over," said Rufina Perez, a U.S. Army vet who lives at the home. "We still want to support our community to show other people, 'don't be afraid if you're going through this, you're not the only one.'"
She ended her statement by noting that both the family and activists are planning on attending the Anaheim city council meeting this Tuesday in order to address the larger issue of the ongoing housing crisis inviting anyone in solidarity to join with them.
"This case is a very important victory. It shows that you can fight back and win," city council candidate Duane Roberts declared, bringing the press conference to a close. "Hopefully this will provide an inspiration for hundreds of other homeowners, not only just in this zip code, but throughout Anaheim."