Protesters Occupy Home in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood
Occupy Atlanta activists say they're trying to stop foreclosure on a home that has been owned by the same family for generations.
Carmen Pittman has lived in her Old Fourth Ward home with her mother, father and three siblings since third grade.
It’s the house that her grandmother and great-grandmother called home.
But Pittman and her family face eviction because a bank has started foreclosure proceedings on their house on Glen Iris Drive.
"This has always been a family house," said Pittman, 21. "It's always been here for anybody to come back to. ...You want to come sleep here, you can, you're more than welcome."
Now, the family has invited Occupy Atlanta protesters onto their property in a bid to save their home and raise awareness in the neighborhood about the foreclosure crisis.
About ten protesters arrived Tuesday to set up tents in the front lawn and signs with messages critiquing the banks, including "Wake up America, they've got our money, now they're taking our homes." The Pittman home was part of a move to occupy homes across the U.S. to try to block foreclosures, according to the advocacy group Occupy Our Homes.
The house brick, built in 1953, has been in the family for generations. Pittman's grandmother, who worked for 40 years as a school secretary and passed away on Nov. 29, inherited the house from her mother.
Pittman, who stopped working at a nearby supermarket to help care for her grandmother, Eloise Pittman, said that the foreclosure process began suddenly while her health was failing.
The family was taken by surprise, but Eloise was too sick to explain what had happened. Occupy Our Homes has referred to the pending foreclosure as the result of "one of the most predatory loans we've ever seen."
Pittman said losing the house would be devastating to her family.
"We would have nothing to fall back on. That was the family house, the house we thought we'd have forever,” she said. “We'd be homeless."
For now, the Pittmans are putting their faith in the protesters.
And Carmen Pittman is becoming part of the movement, helping to canvass her neighborhood to talk to people about the foreclosure issue.
The occupation of the home on Glen Iris follows a similar move last month at a home in Snellville.
When Occupy Atlanta occupies a home facing eviction, there are some specific goals, according to an Occupy Atlanta fact sheet. The first is to save the occupants from eviction and "act on their behalf, consider their needs and wants and let their voice be heard."
The advocates also want to tell the stories of the residents and their community to help unite people around the cause and build a base for the movement.
Earlier Tuesday, protesters turned out in front of courthouses in Fulton and DeKalb counties to protest the monthly auctions of foreclosed properties.
The protest at the Futon County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta included Sen. Vincent Fort and The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, who called for a six- to nine-month moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions.
What do you think of this latest action by Occupy Atlanta?