Despite Aggressive Home Defense, Help from Slay, Woman Forced from Home of 21 Years

williams eviction
Leah Greenbaum
Movers from the sheriff's office ignore protesters, as they empty 4665 Penrose.
What do you say to a woman who is losing her home of 21 years, watching as strangers drop all of her possessions in trash bags on the curb?

"If anyone interferes with our movers, we're taking all of your things to the dump," a sheriff's deputy told Angelia Williams, who stood outside her Penrose home in tears this morning.

After years of trying to get through to Wells Fargo for a loan modification--and despite direct help from Mayor Francis Slay--Williams was finally evicted today. About 30 activists protested the forced eviction on Williams' lawn and several risked arrest to forcibly prevent sheriff's deputies and movers from entering her house.

This was the third stand-off between Williams' supporters and the sheriff's department in the last month. Williams' eviction has been delayed several times, after State Representative Jamillah Nasheed (who drove by the eviction this morning but did not get out of her car) called the sheriff's office herself and asked them to postpone the eviction. A week later Mayor Francis Slay called Sheriff James Murphy and asked him to give Williams more time to make a deal with Wells Fargo.

Leah Greenbaum
Angelia Williams looks on tearfully as police officers and movers prepare to enter her home.
Kara Bowlin, the mayor's press secretary, told Daily RFT that Slay took an interest in the case after it was brought to his attention by the non-profit Beyond Housing.

"It seems like Williams is close to getting something figured out with the bank and the mayor is absolutely interested in helping this woman stay in her home," Bowlin said Thursday afternoon. Bowlin said Slay contacted Wells Fargo himself this week, but had not heard back from them, as of Friday morning.

Williams was on the phone with Wells Fargo and a number of elected officials this morning to no avail, as police officers and movers employed by the sheriff's office surrounded her home. Trouble began for Williams two years ago, when the recession was at its worst. She was still employed but worried about layoffs in 2010 so she called her bank to ask for a loan modification.

"They said that since I was employed they couldn't give me a modification," she said from her yard, where icy rain fell throughout the morning. "Then when I was unemployed, they told me that because I was unemployed I couldn't get the modification."

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