Community holds candlelight vigil tonight to halt dying woman’s eviction from family home of three generations

From Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction

CHICAGO, IL Seventy-six-year-old Mary Bonelli will be put on the sheriff’s eviction list tomorrow, despite the fact that her home foreclosure resulted from a bank error. In a phone interview last night, Ms. Bonelli revealed she has a terminal illness.

In response, community members will hold a candlelight vigil to call for a halt to her eviction and the modification of her mortgage to reflect the home’s current market value. At a 7 p.m. press conference, Bonelli and her neighbors will speak about the foreclosure crisis’ impact on the elderly and announce their plans to ensure that no more homes on the block are left vacant.

Time is running out for Mary Bonelli, whose Belmont-Cragin home has been in her family for three generations.

Bonelli and her elderly sister, who took out a new mortgage to pay for repairs to the home in 2008, first went into foreclosure in spring 2011. Both women are on a fixed income and were meeting monthly payments, but the foreclosure was triggered by an error in Fifth Third Bank’s online payment system. By the time they realized the problem, the sisters were told it was too late. They then hired lawyers, who charged $2,500 up front before eventually dropping the case. Though foreclosures often take years to go through the courts, Bonelli’s went through in a matter of months.

Tomorrow, with support from her neighbors and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, Bonelli will announce that she plans to continue occupying her foreclosed home, even if the sheriff comes to evict her. Bonelli is disabled and has difficulty walking, but says she plans to stand up for her home and the community she’s lived in all her life.

“I have no place else to go, and moving in my condition would be a nightmare. To see all the hard work that three generations of my family have put into our home slip away because of the bank’s mistake would be devastating,” she says.

Bonelli’s house has been sold to government-backed mortgage lender Fannie Mae. Last month, she and fifteen other families demonstrated in front of the agency’s regional headquarters in hopes of securing a meeting. Supporters have also been calling into the office of Fannie Vice President Kristy Williams Fercho to ask for a negotiation, but have so far received no response.

Bonelli’s predicament is an all-too-common one. Together, Fannie and Freddie control more than half of all home mortgages and over 90 percent of newly issued mortgages. These institutions hold enormous influence over the housing market, and have made the foreclosure crisis worse by denying principal reductions, then evicting families from their homes, only to hold vacant properties for months on end.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received a bailout of more than $150 million to remain solvent,” says Sabrina Morey, a member of Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction and Bonelli’s neighbor. “The taxpayers own and fund them, yet they’re evicting elderly people who have been working and paying taxes all their lives.”

Mary Bonelli, homeowner in foreclosure, 773-385-6053
Sabrina Morey, Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, 773-887-5174
Rebecca Burns, Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, 781-962-8816

When: Wednesday, January 16 at 7 p.m.
Where: Outside the home of Mary Bonelli, 2334 N Mason Avenue

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About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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