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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Josephine Tolbert, San Francisco Grandmother, Evicted by 1 Percent

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 5:00 PM

click to enlarge Ugh
  • Ugh

The Occupy Movement took root in New York City more than two months ago, spreading their anti-big bank movement to cities across the nation.

But what has the movement accomplished besides pissing off local businesses?

Well, if anything, it has gotten people like Josephine Tolbert's story in the news. The 75-year-old great grandmother and San Francisco businessowner went to drop off her great granddaughter at school Tuesday morning and came home to find the locks on her Portola home she had lived in since 1973 had been changed.

True Compass LLC had purchased her home, preparing to sell it for profit, according to Tolbert.

"Just as I am finally getting back on my feet, and seeing success with my childcare business after being ill, I am kicked out of my home. I thought I had more time and was working with counseling agencies to keep my home of 38 years, but have found out that it is not only sold, but I came home this morning with my grandchild and found my locks changed," Tolbert said in a statement. "I had to immediately cancel my childcare services leaving two families, five children, without their childcare. This isn't how seniors should be treated over the holidays."

And while Occupy SF squatters took on their anti-big bank cause on Justin Herman Plaza, more than 30 protesters gathered together today to demand that the new buyers -- who said they would sell her the house back at a profit -- allow her to move back in while she works out a deal with Bank of America, said Grace Martinez, spokeswoman with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, an organization that helps people who are losing their homes.

Tolbert was under the impression she was doing all the right things to save her home; she had been working with the bank since August and had no idea that new buyers would lock her out of her home so abruptly.

"She thought she had more time," Martinez told us. "But the new owners changed the locks to the house and won't let her back in -- they won't even let her get diapers out."

"It's three weeks before Christmas and she is staying with a neighbor," she added.

Tolbert, who ran her daycare business out of her home, had paid off the house in 2002, but a conflict with her estranged husband forced her to take out another loan, which led to her eventually losing her home.

"Is this how the 1 percent treat seniors who have contributed to the community for decades?" said Vivian Richardson, a local housing advocate. "The banks and super wealthy real estate speculators need to be held accountable and stop putting hard  working people out of the homes."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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