Detroit Residents Band Together to Fight Evictions (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Detroit, Michigan, may be the epicenter of the nation's foreclosure crisis, as banks continue to evict residents from their homes at an alarming pace (video below).

However, a growing grassroots movement has recently blocked evictions and kept families in their homes, reports

Retired factory worker Jerry Cullors arose to an eviction notice and a giant dumpster outside his home on the morning of Oct. 31, 2012.

"We woke up, and a dumpster was sitting right on the side of the house over here," he said. "You know, we were shocked about it 'cause we didn't know anything about it. We never received anything in the mail or by phone as to what was going on."

Cullors reached out to a neighbor, who put him in touch with Occupy Detroit and a group called the 'Eviction Defense Committee.' Dozens of people showed up that morning to help block the eviction.

Under a 2007 Detroit city law, a dumpster must be on site for evictions to proceed. By filling the dumpster with leaves and using their bodies to block the movers, Cullors and protesters succeeded in blocking the eviction.

They then held rallies and marches and successfully pressured Bank of America to refinance the mortgage.

Community organizer William Bryce told how dozens of residents blocked another eviction by using their vehicles to prevent the delivery of a dumpster: "We had cars prepared to block the dumpster here at the corner. We had cars prepared to block the dumpster if it came around off Grand River. We had cars down at the other corner prepared to. We had cars down at the other corner prepared to block the dumpster. And we had cars all the way along here on both sides of the street."

The activists prevented the eviction, the homeowner eventually secured a new mortgage, and like Jerry Cullors, she's now helping save other people's homes.

Attorney Jerry Goldberg, who is with the group Moratorium Now, has filed a lawsuit against non-judicial foreclosures. 

"Everyone should have the right to a hearing before their home is foreclosed upon," he said. "In 25 states, including Michigan, we have what's called non-judicial foreclosure. All they have to do is post a notice of foreclosure on your door, and then wait four weeks, and they sell your home. You never get a hearing, you know. And when you try to go to court afterwards, they say, 'Well, you've already lost your home. It's too late.'"