Foreclosed Tomorrow, Harassed Today


​The Voice is starting a new feature several times a week. As foreclosures continue unabated across the nation, the Voice will be profiling the foreclosures that happen every week right here in the five boroughs. We’ll be looking closely at the properties facing foreclosure, the public auctions where those buildings are sold to the highest bidder, and the individuals facing eviction in the process.

As foreclosures continue to swarm US homeowners, investors are taking advantage by snapping up foreclosed home in bulk (sales of home to investors soared 64.5% in 2011). Today, The Voice visited 191 Classon Avenue in Brooklyn, a three-story apartment that is set to be sold, along with seven other properties, tomorrow at the Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Mrs Ortiz, a Hispanic housewife who lives on the first floor apartment, said she’s aware of the looming eviction, but not from the landlord and owner of the property.

“Investors have been coming here looking at the place at all hours,” she said. “Morning, late evenings, they want to ask questions, they want to see the place. It’s driving me crazy.”

Another tenant, Frank Jameson, said he’s tried contacting to landlord to no avail.

“Basically, they’re putting up this place for sale, but we know nothing about nothing,” he said. “The investors, I know they won’t let us stay here once they purchase the apartment, they’re going to kick us out and rent it to their own kind.”

Jameson claims the investors have been mostly Jewish men in their late 30s.

According to a Forbes report , these investors are usually from private equity firms and hedge funds, and their goal is to buy up “dozens, hundreds, even thousands of distressed homes at deeply discount prices”. Then, they fix up the properties and rent them out at higher rate.

Both Jameson and Ortiz were not aware of the foreclosure blockade that have been happening throughout the city. Both said they want to participate in the next one.

We contacted the landlord, Mrs Gelb, from a phone number provided by Ortiz, there was no answer.

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