People We Love: Inez Killingsworth

How one outspoken resident is helping Cleveland's families keep their homes.
Inez Killingsworth

In her testimony to a Congressional committee, Inez Killingsworth described taking busloads of “ripped-off homeowners” to throw plastic sharks at the homes of executives of predatory lenders.

“Some tell us that doing this isn’t nice,” she said. “I suppose they are correct, but we don’t think what these lenders have done to our neighborhood is very nice either.”

Foreclosed homes were left abandoned and empty on Cleveland’s east side, attracting drug dealers and vandalism. After her retirement, Killingsworth launched herself into finding solutions for her community by starting Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP).

ESOP has pressured big lenders like CitiFinancial and Bank of America into negotiating formal agreements on affordable loan modifications, saving over 16,000 homeowners from foreclosure.


Alyssa Johnson

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