• After Foreclosure Exited Stage Left, Writing Took Center Stage

    Stephanie and Bob Walker paid $799,000 for a three-bedroom house with a view of the Hollywood sign in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Three years later, the couple was in the Barrington home of Stephanie’s mother after spending a year trying to hang on to their California home.

    The monthly magazine Chicago reported on December 14, 2011, that the foreclosure process Stephanie called “an extremely depressing and really scary ordeal” has actually helped her career. Stephanie first began writing about that ordeal at her blog, Love in the Time of Foreclosure, and later published an e-book of the same name. This year a play she wrote about the foreclosure, entitled “American Home,” won a Blue Ink Award from American Blues Theater. Thus far, Chicago said the two-act play has had a staged reading that is part of the development process, but Stephanie told the magazine that American Blues may go on to produce a full-fledged production, and if not, she wants to pursue getting the play produced by another company.

    “We learned we’re resilient,” Stephanie told Chicago in 2009. “We learned not to be so attached to material things. We learned that we have each other.”

    For homeowners in need of foreclosure help , it can be hard to imagine life ever getting back to what it was like before there were mortgage problems. That type of personal shame makes it difficult for people to ask for help, let alone even consider options that could help them stay in their house, such as filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy . However, the Walkers’ journey represents one way in which the foreclosed can use the experience for inspiration. Do you think your own story would make for a good play or movie? What would the title be?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Protesters Move from Occupying Wall Street to Occupying Foreclosed Homes

    The movement known as Occupy Wall Street led to an offshoot called Occupy Our Homes on December 6, 2011. The Atlantic reported that there were 25 actions planned nationwide for that day involving plans to protest what activists said are unfair lending practices by banks. Five of those, including Chicago, involved protesters actually moving into homes.

    According to the Atlantic, in the second house takeover of the day, organizers said two formerly homeless women and a 1-year-old baby would move into a house whose owner had decided to move out months ago rather than get foreclosure help . In the ensuing months, Occupy Our Homes said on its website that the home was “vandalized, sprayed with graffiti, and stripped of its pipes, sinks, and heating units.”

    “Crackheads came in and turned it into a crackhouse,” J.R. Fleming of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign J.R. Fleming told the Atlantic. “They stripped all the copper out of the unit, they stripped out all the aluminum.”

    The Atlantic noted that it was the only abandoned house on the block, and after proving to police that homeowner Brenda Walker had “given her blessing,” the group arranged for Ebonee Stevenson, Shirley Henderson and Stevenson’s 1-year-old cousin to move in. Fleming told the Atlantic that “about 30 to 40 approving neighbors and community organizers” looked on as the tenants moved in after a prep crew had replaced the fixtures, piping and wiring. The group received no resistance from police, Fleming told the Atlantic.

    If you do not want to wait for a group of activists to help you deal with a foreclosure, you should know that filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to legally stay in your home as well as reduce, restructure or eliminate your debt. What are your feelings about the Occupy Our Homes movement? Do you think this sort of activity will continue?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Could 25 Cents Bring 40,000 Jobs To Chicago?

    The Occupy Wall Street movement that started in New York in September inspired thousands of protestors to take to the streets of downtown Chicago on October 10, 2011. While demonstrators around the nation were gathering to rally against economic inequality, the “Stand Up Chicago” coalition released their own plan to bring 40,000 jobs back to the Windy City on October 7, 2011.  According to the Chicago Reporter, the group has proposed collecting a $0.25 cent contract speculation fee from traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).

    The tax would generate $1.4 billion in revenue, despite an anticipated 15 percent reduction in trading volume because of the tax, according to the Reporter. Reuters, however, noted that the exchanges typically argue that such a tax would simply send trading elsewhere, and “CME and CBOE executives have already been considering pulling up their Chicago stakes and relocating to other states to avoid steep tax hikes imposed by Illinois earlier this year.”

    “Stand Up” indentifies themselves as groups of “workers, foreclosure victims , teachers, the unemployed and others who are tired of big banks and corporations bankrupting our neighborhoods.” Are you involved in “Stand Up Chicago” or did you attend any of the demonstrations? Do you think taxing the exchanges an extra quarter for every transaction will bring more jobs to the city? Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys want to hear from you. And if you are currently considering a bankruptcy means test as part of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure, contact our office today for a free consulation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers