Occupy was working wth family fighting to save the foreclosed property by refusing to leave
By Susan Abram, Staff Writer
LA Daily News, October 29, 2012
LAPD officers help the Street Services Department remove a makeshift fence from Javier Hernandez’s home on Leadwell Street in Van Nuys on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. The site has been the headquarters for the Occupy Van Nuys movement when the family began fighting to save the foreclosed property by refusing to leave. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)
Resident Ulises Hernandez speaks with LAPD officers after they helped the Street Services Department remove a makeshift fence from Javier Hernandez’s home on Leadwell Street in Van Nuys on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. The site has been the headquarters for the Occupy Van Nuys movement when the family began fighting to save the foreclosed property by refusing to leave. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)
City officials removed a six-foot-tall wooden fence that surrounded a Van Nuys home Monday morning where members of Occupy San Fernando Valley have been camped out for the last 65 days.
The Los Angeles Police Department assisted workers with the city’s Building and Safety department in removing the fence, which was made of wooden pallets and plywood and on public property. The city deemed it a danger to the community, police officials said.
Members of the Occupy group have stayed at the home at 14620 Leadwell Street, dubbed Fort Hernandez, to support the owners who face eviction.
“We’ve got nothing against the LAPD,” said homeowner Javier Hernandez.
“It’s the bank. They’ve called everyone from the health department to child services to get us out.”
Javier Hernandez said 11 people live in the 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home he bought in 2006, which was then worth $546,000. | See photo gallery.
Hernandez, who is 31, said he and his family signed a subprime mortgage that included an adjustable rate, meaning the increase was legal. He and his family were paying $3,900 a month under an interest-only loan for two years, but couldn’t afford the payment when it increased to $4,500. They have not made a mortgage payment in more than four years.
Hernandez said they were trying to work out a loan modification with Bank of America when the house was sold at auction in August.
Occupy San Fernando Valley is standing by the family.
A Bank of America spokeswoman said earlier this month that Hernandez didn’t submit documentation requested during a 2011 modification review, giving the bank no choice but to go through with foreclosure.
Several people who are staying at Hernandez’s home worked to clean up and sweep debris left by the bulldozers that came in to remove the fence.
Tents now sit on Hernandez’s lawn and a banner strewn across the front of the house reads: “Save our Community.”
Some neighbors who live in the area said they’ve grown weary of what they call scrappy-looking Occupy members walking up and down Leadwell Street. They see some members sleep in old, parked cars.
“I’m tired of all this crap,” said one Leadwell Street resident, who has lived in the area since 1968, but who did not wish to give his name. “I don’t have any sympathy for them.”