After Saving Queens Woman From Foreclosure, CODEPINK Pressures Washington to Bail Out Main Street

For Immediate Release

CODEPINK
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Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK cofounder, 415-235-6517

After Saving Queens Woman From Foreclosure, CODEPINK Pressures Washington to Bail Out Main Street

QUEENS, NY - The day Jocelyne Voltaire's home here of 21 years was scheduled for auction, CODEPINK Women for Peace learned of her tragic story and appealed to its members for help. In two hours, $15,000 in donations had poured in, enough to convince the mortgage bankers to stop the auction. (Listen to the full story on Democracy Now! here).

With CODEPINK's final tally of $30,000, Jocelyne now has another chance. But every day, thousands of U.S. families continue to lose their homes. CODEPINK, a group that began to protest the war but has expanded to address the economic crisis, is now working with national housing and community organizations.

"Together we have been pressuring Congress and the administration to take urgent action to stem the foreclosure crisis that is leaving homeowners and tenants homeless, driving property values down, fomenting crime, destroying small businesses and depriving cities and states of property tax revenues," said Gael Murphy, CODEPINK cofounder.

CODEPINK is cautiously optimistic that talks between the FDIC and Treasury will result in a plan to use a good portion of the $700 billion bailout for homeowners, but fears it will be bogged down in Washington infighting. So CODEPINK is organizing to greet Congress when it returns to Washington on November 17.

"It's shameful that the administration and Congress acted with lightening speed to bail out Wall Street and the banks, but continue to drag their feet when it comes to struggling homeowners," said Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK cofounder . "We will be there when Congress returns to Washington, demanding that they immediately implement policies that put the needs of average Americans before those of financiers."

At the recent Mortgage Bankers Association conference in San Francisco, CODEPINK confronted the CEOs and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, calling on them to endorse a moratorium on foreclosures (see a San Francisco Chronicle clip of the disruption here).

CODEPINK is also calling for the following policies:
* Giving bankruptcy judges the authority to restructure loans
* Using the FDIC-mandated restructuring of IndyMac loans as a model for other banks
* Passing regulations to stop predatory lending

In addition to policy changes, CODEPINK will give financial assistance to several other homeowners.

"Our members showed so much compassion toward Jocelyne Voltaire and other struggling mothers," Benjamin said. "We will use the funds we've collected to help other families in distress, while we push our government to take responsibility for the millions of families who have become the victims of greed, predatory lending and failed government policies."

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