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Occupy Maine sets focus on home foreclosures

News

Occupy Maine sets focus on home foreclosures

PORTLAND — Members of Occupy Maine are focusing their efforts on housing foreclosures and providing support to Mainers struggling through the process.

The newly formed Occupy Our Homes is offering services that include general information, legal assistance, and fundraising.

Some of the core activists involved participated in the occupation of Lincoln Park in Portland. But William Hessian was in Minneapolis, Minn., where one of the first Occupy Our Homes groups was founded.

Hessian said one of the group's goals is to develop "creative solutions for each individual."

Recently, Occupy Our Homes held an arts event for Susan Chandel, who is facing foreclosure in Topsham. More than 30 artists participated and formed Maple Edge Arts Collective, which will attempt to raise the funds, with Chandel, to purchase her home and turn it into an artists' collective.

Advocacy is another goal. The group is contacting candidates across the state to discuss their positions on LD-145, a bill that the Legislature passed to prevent banks from foreclosing on homes unless the banks could prove ownership.

The bill was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage in March. Hessian said it will likely be reintroduced and the group hopes to garner enough support to overturn another veto.

Over the past few months the group has organized forums in Portland to raise awareness and to share information and resources. The forums are held every second Tuesday of the month at State Street Church UCC, 159 State St., Portland.

The next forum will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information or to work with the group as a homeowner, contact Hessian at william.hessian@gmail.com.

Marena Blanchard is The Forecaster news assistant. She can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 115 or mblanchard@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @soapboxnoise.