West Philadelphia: Sheriff Candidate Protests Against Foreclosure Bidding

Protestors remained outside from 5:00 p.m., April 4, until they were allowed inside at 7:00 a.m. with bidders.
Protestors remained outside from 5 p.m., April 4, until they were allowed inside at 7 a.m. with bidders.

A protestor threw Monopoly money into the air and shouted her outrage at the auctioning crowd for taking away the foreclosed homes of dozens of Philadelphia families, all before being escorted out by security on April 5. But this is not your average woman fighting against city politics, this is Philadelphia sheriff candidate Cheri Honkala.

Honkala, executive director of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union since 1991 and member of the organization of poor and homeless families called the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign since 1997, was among the sizable group that turned out to “Sleep Out” protest. With sleeping bags in hand, the demonstrators planned to rally against the Sheriff’s Office’s restart of mortgaged foreclosure sales on the morning of April 5 at the bidding location on 3801 Market St. They planned to be first in line for bidding by sleeping out all night, thereby being among the initial crowd allowed inside.

“They are doing a good thing,” Ramona Bray, a passerby said as she watched the protest around 6 p.m. “But it just seems like a drop in the bucket… [the foreclosed families] shouldn’t have taken out loans they couldn’t have afforded.”

“You can’t blame them in this bad economy,” Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Moore, another observer, added as the sun began to set. “People don’t squirrel money away until after you’ve lost your job.”

It was the intent of the protestors to place symbolic penny bids during the resulting sales, first in an attempt to secure the homes from being lost by their owners and to draw attention to Emergency Homeowners Loan Program, a $105 million federal bailout that was issued on April 1, that took months to arrive, while bailouts to major banks such as Chase and Wachovia only took days.

1 Comment

  1. Not only are these programs for homeowners late getting started (like this Emergency Homeowners Loan Program) – but there is so much red tape, a ridiculous application and selection criteria – that it is a wonder whether anyone ever gets any kind of assistance.

    Meanwhile, the big banks got there money so quickly, by just ‘borrowing from the discount window’ at the Federal Reserve and are not posting record profits.

    It is a terrible injustice and it is great that these folks are calling attention to it in their community.

    On the national level, the press is out to lunch on this topic.

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