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A Home for the Holidays: On Mission and Chavez


Looking back on 2012, it has been a year of ups and downs in congregation-based community organizing. A major win in CA for homeowners was the passage of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, which was voted through in July and will be implemented in January.

The Rev. Gloria Del Castillo, an Episcopal clergyperson who has been going through foreclosure, was at the heart of this effort, putting her faith into action through sharing her story widely and traveling to Sacramento multiple times to meet with decision-makers.

Over the last month, Rev. Gloria has been meeting with a Citibank home mortgage officer, working through modifying her loan through a number of federal programs that exist for underwater homeowners like her.

On Monday, Dec. 10, Rev. Gloria received a notice on her door and in her mailbox alerting her that her home will be auctioned off at the courthouse on Dec. 31 – one day before the Homeowner Bill of Rights is implemented and would deem this practice of “dual-tracking” (auctioning off a home while the loan is being modified) illegal.

As a part of our organizing efforts earlier this year, San Francisco-based filmmaker Stephen Eyer (Seventh-Gay Adventists) documented Rev. Gloria’s story in this 3-minute film:

Compassionate and justice-oriented groups much like the Spectrum community have postponed many home auctions across the country.

Please take 4 minutes to help Rev. Gloria stay in her home through the holidays:

1. Call Citigroup Corporate Headquarters: (212) 559-1000 and ask for “Michael Corbat,” Citigroup’s CEO.

2. When the robot asks you if you are trying to reach Michael Corbat, say “Yes.” You will then be connected to the CEO’s office.

3. Tell them your name and that you would like to lodge a complaint with the CEO on behalf of Rev. Gloria del Castillo, whose home is being foreclosed upon. Request that they cancel the auction of Rev. Gloria del Castillo’s home, explaining that even though she has been in negotiations with CitiBank about her loan, she recently received notice that her home will be auctioned off on December 31st (one day before the Homeowner Bill of Rights goes into effect, which will make this practice of dual-tracking illegal in California).

4. If requested: Rev. Gloria’s phone number is (510) 837-1430. She serves a church in San Francisco and lives in El Sobrante, California. Please share Rev. Gloria’s video/story (more info. on on Facebook and Twitter (#home4holidays). Together we can keep Rev. Gloria in her home through the holidays.

—Geoffrey Nelson-Blake, M.Div., lives in San Francisco with his wife Natalie, and works as a congregation-based community organizer with the San Francisco Organizing Project, a part of the PICO National Network.

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