Protesters urge banks to give foreclosed homes back to community

July 15, 2013

By Yolanda Perdomo

(WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)

In a downtown highrise, a foreclosure auction takes place. But during the relatively quiet proceedings, a group of ten protesters try to take it over.

Jorge Ortiz is with The Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction. He wants banks to be altruistic and help communities affected by foreclosures.

“I mean we have houses that are empty and abandoned that go on like this for years. They create insecurity in our communities,” says Ortiz. “They devastate our communities. Not to mention the displacement that happens.”

The group grew to more than 60 people by the time they marched west to protest at Citibank offices at the Ogilvie Transportation Center on Madison Street.

The organization wants banks to donate foreclosed properties to a community land trust. It’s a nonprofit providing affordable housing.

Currently, they have no homes that have been donated by banks or other lenders. But today’s protests weren’t for naught. Before police escorted protesters out of the Ogilvie Transportation Center, Ortiz was given the name of a Citibank vice president to contact to continue the conversation.

Yolanda Perdomo is a host and producer at WBEZ. Follow her @yolandanews.