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Protesters disrupt Pacoima home auction

August 30, 2010 9:46:16 PM PDT
Millions of homeowners have been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, including an elderly woman in Pacoima.For more than 50 years the house has been owned by one family, but that could be changing soon. Like so many homes today, this one is in foreclosure and could be auctioned off. But unlike so many other homes, this one is spurring protests

On the steps of the L.A. County Courthouse in Norwalk, the auctioneer rattles off the addresses of homes up for bidding.

This foreclosure aria is in all-too-common performance here. Evalyn Burnie finds herself starring in it.

"I do want my property. I do want to save it and I don't want it auctioned off," said Burnie.

Burnie's Pacoima home, built by her father in 1955, is in foreclosure. Payments on a remodeling loan she took out a few years back first totaled roughly $800 per month. Today, the payments are $2,000 per month, and Burnie can't afford that.

"I had breast cancer, lost my job, lost my health care and I didn't have the money to pay the loan," said Burnie.

The advocacy group the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is trying to help Burnie find a way to stay in her home. The group organized an auction protest.

Monday, Burnie gets a break. The auction of her home has been postponed, just for a couple of weeks, but it's enough to give them hope.

People who take part in the auction, though, say it's easy to paint lenders as the bad guys.

Tony Youngs, a real-estate auction tracker, travels the country collecting foreclosed auction data. He says protesters seem to miss the point about mortgage companies.

"It all boils down to this: If you have no money, they can't work with you," said Youngs. "They have their rights too. They should be able to, you know, do business according to their business plan."

Burnie said she's found someone who's willing to buy the house and rent it back to her, but Eyewitness News called her lender Monday, and a spokesman for the company said they tried working out deals with Burnie in the past and that they've only received two payments from her over the past two and a half years. The spokesman said his company has been more than patient.


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