Rally seeks to save family’s homeTwo protests put on by the grassroots group Project Save Our Homes highlighted a Superior family’s foreclosure crisis Wednesday. At 4 p.m., a dozen children and their parents settled into the U.S. Bank lobby in downtown Duluth.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Two protests put on by the grassroots group Project Save Our Homes highlighted a Superior family’s foreclosure crisis Wednesday. At 4 p.m., a dozen children and their parents settled into the U.S. Bank lobby in downtown Duluth. They colored pictures of rainbows and houses, singing with Rachel Kilgour as she strummed her guitar. The children were there to call attention to the Chris and Krystal Dunbar family, who are set to lose their South Superior home in a sheriff’s sale on March 27.
“Kids need homes,” said Gala Wright, 10, of Duluth as she passed out fliers with 12-year-old Charis Edward. The girls didn’t know the Dunbars personally, but they wanted to be there.
“Families with kids need a little bit of compassion from the bank,” Charis said, and she wanted to make sure they were getting it.
The protesters were asked to move from the bank to the building lobby about 20 minutes after their sit-in started. They continued to sing and color in the hall outside the bank offices until 5 p.m., when a larger rally took place outside the building at 10 E. First St.
Marcie Jackson of Duluth took part in both events.
“I don’t have a home to save,” she said. “If I did, I would hope people would help me save it.”
Project Save Our Homes is currently working with Twin Ports residents in danger of losing their homes to bring attention to the foreclosure epidemic, one family at a time. According to records from the Clerk of Courts Office, more than 550 foreclosures have taken place in Douglas County over the last five years — more than 100 per year.
The Dunbars purchased their home in 2005, but Chris Dunbar lost his manufacturing job two years later. The couple said the partial payments they tried to send to U.S. Bank were returned and two attempts to refinance through the Making Home Affordable program were denied. According to online court records, a default judgment was made in March 2011 in Douglas County Circuit Court.
Nicole Garrison-Springer, vice president of corporate public relations for U.S. Bancorp, said in an email that the bank has been in contact with the Dunbars and continues to work with them to find a resolution.
“Per customer confidentiality requirements, however, I cannot share any further information,” she said.
The Dunbars said the bank contacted them late Tuesday, but their offer did not include a guarantee that the family will be able to negotiate a new mortgage with the bank.
The South Superior home has been in Chris Dunbar’s family for four generations. His children, ages 11, 9 and 2, may be the last to live there.
The Dunbars’ story is powerful because it could happen to anybody, said Adam Ritscher of Superior, a member of Project Save Our Homes. Many people in the area would be in the same situation if they lost their job, he said.
The point they are trying to make, said Project Save Our Homes member Joel Kilgour, is that the issue is bigger than a single family. Banks need to change their policies and change their corporate culture, he said. Along with protests, the group is also collecting signatures, both online and in person, for a petition that will be sent to U.S. Bank.
For more information on Project Save Our Homes, visit http://projectsaveourhomes.blogspot.com, check out their Facebook page, call Kilgour at (218) 340-4356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The group also has a hotline for people in the Twin Ports area facing foreclosure, (218) 428-1154.