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'Occupy,' courts allow evicted D.C. woman to stay in her house

Monday - 4/2/2012, 5:36pm  ET

OccupyHomes.jpg
'Occupy our Homes D.C.' protests outside a home in Northeast, D.C., fighting to keep the current occupant from eviction. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A District woman was set to be thrown out of her home by 9 a.m. Monday, but a little help from an evolving Occupy movement, and the court system, has kept her out of the cold.

Members of "Occupy our Homes DC" surrounded the front of Dawn Butler's house in the 900 block of Maryland Avenue in Northeast, near the H Street corridor.

"We are here defending the house. We're telling them she not leaving," says Mike Haack with the group. This type of protest is happening around the country, he says, adding this is the next phase of the Occupy movement.

While Occupiers were at Butler's home, she was in court fighting to stop the eviction. She had appeared before the court for this case three times in March. The court eventually granted a stay from the eviction, so, for now, she gets to stay.

This thrilled her mother, Ann Butler, who was outside of the home with the Occupiers.

Her daughter was never given the right to appear before court to present her case, she says. Her daughter wanted to buy the home and still does.

"In D.C., when the landlord is foreclosed on you are supposed to be given the right to buy your house," she says, adding that didn't happen in this case.

Butler is hopeful that the banks will come to the negotiating table and let her daughter buy the house.

"Thanks to Occupy Homes DC we have a victory," says Butler. She plans to join the movement to help others like her daughter.

This is activist group's second home defense, Haack says, but that this was the first time they actually had to come to a home. Last month, they held two demonstrations at Freddy Mac. That was enough to embarrass the bank to give the Bertina Jones of Prince George's County her home back, he says.

"Without Occupy D.C. no one would have listened to you, I know. I've gone through this, " says Jones.

She says she is the first success story of Occupy D.C., and she fully credits the movement with saving her home that had already been foreclosed on. She turned out Monday morning to support Dawn Butler in her fight to save her home.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)