Foreclosure: Coalition gathers signatures, stories for Initiative 84

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In the almost three months since the Colorado Progressive Coalition began a fight for Initiative 84, organizers have collected more than three dozen stories about Colorado foreclosures. In the near future, they will be part of a story map on the group's website documenting personal horror stories while the CPC pushes state legislature to require documentation prior to all foreclosures. Today, that list grew of stories grew by one: Marla Sneed's.

In 2009, PNC Bank began to foreclose on Sneed's Aurora home, where the 53-year-old lives with the youngest of her three children. Sneed received notice that she was required to attend a Colorado 120 hearing, where a magistrate sided with PNC. For the next three years, she represented herself pro se in her battle to keep her home: In a complaint filed in federal court, Sneed asked for financial officials to produce the title to her home and its promissory note and demonstrate its path of ownership

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Kelsey Whipple
Sneed (center) and Initiative 84 supporters gather in front of her home.
The complaint has since been dismissed, but then, so have Sneed's immediate troubles. When she attended the foreclosure auction for her home, Sneed learned that it would be set back thirty days, and that delay continued for a year until her foreclosure case was dismissed without prejudice.

Armed with a zip file of paperwork related to her property, Sneed says she still has no idea why her case was dropped, and her reaction is a mix of relief and unease. "All I can say is right now I have a roof over my head," Sneed says. "But there's no guarantee I still will in a year, if this starts again. And there are a lot of stories like mine out there -- some that end worse."

This morning, Sneed's neighbors gathered in her front yard for a demonstration of solidarity, and state Representative Joe Miklosi spoke in support of both Sneed and Initiative 84. The effort seeks to create an amendment to the state constitution that would require lenders and servicers of loans to provide official documentation to prove their ownership of a property before foreclosing on it. As of 2006, that paperwork has not been required by state law and can be replaced by a statement from the institution's attorney attesting to its ownership.

In the 80013 area code, where Sneed lives, 696 homes are currently facing foreclosure. As the Colorado Progressive Coalition develops its campaign to promote Initiative 84, organizers have launched volunteer signature-collection camps in eight cities -- Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Pagosa Springs, Pueblo, Greeley, Littleton and Fort Collins -- with another to follow in Grand Junction this month.

But the initiative is still far from making it to the ballot. To guarantee that initiative 84 gets there, supporters must collect a minimum of 87,000 signatures before August 8. Fowler says 50,000 are currently in circulation, but to reach the total, the CPC will need "a significant infusion of dollars to hire a professional firm to collect signatures" for its Campaign To End Unjust Foreclosure, says Corrine Fowler, CPC economic justice director. "We're working on that, but in the meantime, we continue to collect stories every day, and we hope a story map will help to show the breadth of the issue and the importance of stopping it. Foreclosure fraud does not discriminate."

In the meantime, the CPC is awaiting the results of a Colorado Supreme Court petition filed by opponents asking that the intitiative's language be reworked (again).

More from our Politics archive: "Foreclosure: Initiative 84 changes language, pushes for signatures."

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