Wall Street wrecked the economy and banks are still refusing to work with people who are trying to stay in their homes. The Campaign for a Fair Settlement, along with other partners, is calling on President Obama over the next 100 days to champion an agenda that would:
1. Hold bankers accountable for their crimes.
2. Keep people in their homes by resetting their mortgages.
My name is Jacqueline Barber. I spent 20 years working as an officer and detective for the Atlanta Police Department. I am working with OccupyOurHomesAtlanta.
In 1998, I was struck by a car while on the job, causing spinal injuries that left me unable to work. Forced into early retirement, I spent the next few years recovering and welcoming new grandchildren to my ever expanding family.
In 2005, while visiting a former co-worker with my daughter, I came across my dream home. A friend urged me to apply for a loan, which I did and then quickly forgot about. A few weeks later, I got a call from a loan officer telling me that I had been approved and asking me when we wanted to move. Reluctant at first, my family and I decided to purchase the home in Fayetteville, Ga. In 2009, shortly after the housing bubble burst causing our economy to crash, the adjustable rate on my mortgage reset, causing my payments to go up by almost $1,500. Meanwhile, the value of my home began to plummet.
Then tragedy struck. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. I began aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, while my son helped me begin the long process of applying for a loan modification with Wells Fargo. After almost a year of treatment, including a bone marrow transplant, my disease went into remission. My mortgage troubles however were far from over.
Over the next two years, I sent in document after document to the bank, attended countless seminars with housing counseling agencies and tried everything I could to obtain a loan modification, all while still in a wheelchair from the pain I was suffering. My family and I even fell victim to so called “foreclosure rescue” groups, paying them more than $3,000 to assist us. Finally in early 2012, I received a letter from the executive vice president of Wells Fargo assuring me that they were working on my case. I felt a sense of hope at the prospect of finally getting some relief.
Much to my surprise, I received a letter a few weeks later from U.S. Bank, claiming they had purchased my home at auction for less than one-third of what I had paid, and demanding that I vacate the property. Despite their assurances that they were working on my case, it seemed Wells Fargo had moved forward with the foreclosure. My family, including my four young grandchildren who now live with me, were faced with being put out of the home we love.
This began my next battle with U.S. Bank and GMAC. U.S. Bank purchased my home at the auction for less than a third of what I paid for it. Now they are trying to evict me, even refusing to sell the home back to my friends and family who were more than willing to pay for it. It appears that my home was bundled with thousands of others into a risky mortgage-backed security, the same kind that led to the crash of our economy in the first place. U.S. Bank is trying to place the blame on GMAC, who claims it is in the investor’s hands.
This began my next battle with U.S. Bank, and their enforcer/servicer GMAC, who are demanding that my family vacate the property immediately, even refusing to sell it back to friends and family members who were more than willing to purchase the home back from them. It is unclear at this point who actually owns my home. It appears that my loan was bundled with thousands of others into a risky mortgage backed security, the same kind that caused the economy to crash in the first place. The stress of all this has caused my cancer to come out of remission, and I am now having to resume aggressive treatment to fight it. On Thursday, October 11, a judge lifted the stay granted by my bankruptcy. U.S. Bank and GMAC are now free to continue eviction proceedings. This means that I could be evicted in the next few days. However, instead of losing heart, my spirit has been strengthened.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta has set up an occupation at my home. I’m gathering my friends, family and community by my side to deter an eviction that could come in a matter of days.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is part of the Right to the City Alliance and Home Defenders League.