Occupy Our Homes Atlanta protests at Buckhead bank
Group tries to raise awareness about Minnesota family's foreclosure and eviction
- Joeff Davis
- Occupy Our Homes member Tim Franzen addresses employees inside PNC Bank, where about 30 people this afternoon protested bank foreclosures
About 30 people from the group "Occupy Our Homes Atlanta" entered the PNC Bank's Buckhead branch on Piedmont Road this afternoon to protest the bank's foreclosure and eviction of a Minnesota family's home - an act which has become a focal point for the nationwide "Occupy Our Homes" movement.
According to news reports, PNC Bank foreclosed on the Cruz family's south Minneapolis home in February. The family claims that the bank failed to withdraw a monthly payment from the family's account. The bank later tried to impose a penalty that would have equaled two months' payment, which the Cruzes could not afford. The house ended up being bought by Freddie Mac in a sale of foreclosed homes. The family was told they had 48 hours to leave their home, at which point Occupy members stepped in. Since then protests have been held at the home, resulting in many arrests. Thirteen people were arrested yesterday at the home, including hip-hop artist Brother Ali.
Although the Cruzes live in Minneapolis, "Occupy Our Homes Atlanta" - an offshoot of the Occupy Atlanta movement that focuses on housing issues - says the effort to save the family's house could have implications in Georgia. Group members cite the fact that Georgia is no. 1 in the country in foreclosures. They argue that if the movement can prevent the foreclosure in Minnesota it could set a precedent that might bring change here.
At around 1:15 p.m. today, about 30 people walked into the PNC Bank. Once there, they held signs and chanted "Housing is a human right." One group member handed out small flowers to bank employees. After a few moments they gathered in the main lobby area, where member Tim Franzen said the group had nothing against the bank employees but were angry at the actions of PNC's executives.