Detroit residents displaced by corporate interests

Detroit corporations and banks are driving more working-class, poor and nationally oppressed people out of the city’s downtown area. Government and business magnates are focusing on the Cass Center where they want to build a new sports stadium.

Henry Street residents, mostly seniors, single parents, people with disabilities and marginalized workers, received a notice on April 20, telling them to leave their apartments within 30 days, and an official “Notice to Quit.” Their utilities will be shut off soon after.

Neither document appeared to be legally validated. The “new” owners haven’t claimed responsibility for their illegal eviction attempts. It will take political action to identify the landlords.

At an April 28 meeting, tenants expressed anger and frustration. Members of Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Fore­closures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs, along with other groups, attended in support.

Michigan foreclosures continue

These developments occur when the federal government and private industry are not building low-income housing. Detroit — under state-imposed emergency management — is being heavily exploited. The city government, now dominated by pro- corporate surrogates, has no authority.

The foreclosure and eviction crisis has hit Detroit with a vengeance. From 2000 to 2010, 237,000 people — 25 percent of the population — moved away.

On April 24, Moratorium NOW! Coalition members traveled to Coldwater, Mich., to support the Murray family, whom a judge ordered out of their house. Vanessa Fluker is their attorney.

The Benthin/Mac family also faced imminent eviction in April. However, an email and phone campaign won them a temporary stay of eviction.

Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Detroit Eviction Defense, United Auto Workers and other groups protested home foreclosures at Bank of America’s Detroit headquarters on April 26.

On May 20, UAW Local 600 will host a public hearing with officials from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Finance Housing Administration. There, homeowners can tell of the damage being done by the federal government, a major player in foreclosures.

Most funding allocated for federal housing programs has not been spent because banks refuse to help people keep their homes. Justice Department agreements with banks on fraud and discrimination have not shifted federal housing policy.

Only a mass movement led by workers and nationally oppressed people can win policies that recognize housing as a fundamental human right.