In an unprecedented victory, Catherine Lennon, who gained local and national attention after moving back into her foreclosed home after being evicted, was according to public records, recently deeded back her house, without a mortgage. After her husband died of cancer, Ms. Lennon fell behind on her mortgage. In spite of documented problems with the mortgage and foreclosure paperwork at the hands of Bank of America and notorious foreclosure mill of Steven J. Baum, Ms. Lennon was foreclosed upon. Take Back the Land- Rochester joined Catherine Lennon and waged an eviction defense of the home. The eviction blockade made local and national headlines when the Rochester SWAT-like operation executed the eviction, arresting 7 people, including a 70 year old neighbor in her pajamas.
On Mother’s Day 2011, in a daring act of civil disobedience, Ms. Lennon openly moved back into the home from which she was evicted , with Take Back the Land- Rochester, announcing that it was not a “Sit-in,” but rather a “Live-in.” The act garnered national attention, Ms. Lennon was called “the Rosa Parks of the foreclosure crisis,” by former Obama Administration official Van Jones, and the act served as a model for much of the ongoing “Occupy our Homes” and Take Back the Land eviction defenses around the country.
Two years later, Ms. Lennon is making waves again. While many Homes” eviction defenses result in the owner receiving a new mortgage, often with principal reduction, public records reveal that Bank of America deeded the house back to Lennon without a mortgage, as per the demands of Take Back the Land- Rochester. This is the first known case of a eviction defense ending with an outright winning of the house. “I’m thrilled with the terms of my settlement, actually I’m beyond words,” exclaimed Lennon. “I’m filled with joy.” “This is a precedent-setting victory, a demonstration of what’s possible, and preview what’s to come” said Ryan Acuff, an organizer with Take Back the Land Rochester. “The banks are long overdue to donate tens of thousands of houses back to the community. We paid for these houses in the bailout. This victory is the beginning of the next phase of the movement.”
This article was originally posted at takebackroc.rocus.org