Knocking on the Homeless Door.
At this point in my life I never thought I would be knocking on the Homeless Door, but here I am with an unsure future looming and scrambling to figure out where I am going to call home for my final years on this earth and that terrifies me!
Let me back up a bit so you will understand how I got to this point.
I have been married for 27 years and I have 4 children. All of my married life my husband was in construction and it took us a long time to finally reach that point where we were making money at it. Being a small one man business meant that we had years of living paycheck to paycheck but because of his passion for doing things right and making sure each job he did was up to the standards he required we made the sacrifices needed to survive. Yes, it was hard but his reputation like his word were his bonds.
It took us 20 years to finally be in a position to buy our own first home and like everything else we ever did it was a mass of hurdles to jump through. Being self-employed we had to prove far more to the lenders than most but with perseverance and determination we tackled each request as we made sure that it was something we could afford to do finally.
On May 1, 2004 we stepped through the front door of our very first home for the very first time. I can’t even begin to explain to you the feeling of finally having true success in life and the feeling of security that I had never had before. This was MY home and I was damn proud of all of us! We had worked hard, sacrifice, and finally our “American Dream” was coming true. No more living by the whims of others or paying their mortgages. We had ours and we deserved it.
Thankfully we had refinanced our mortgage the first year in from an adjustable rate to a fixed 30 year mortgage, thinking that was going to benefit us down the road, but in fact that cost us dearly. It meant we had to take a higher interest rate, but at the time the increase in our payments wasn’t something we were concerned with, it was a matter of a hundred dollars more and we could comfortably afford that. So we moved forward with no concerns. We began putting money into our home to improve it and were loving every minute of the hard work it required. One of the benefits of having a husband in construction, we were able do it all ourselves.
Now for any of you living in the US you know that by 2007 the construction market tanked. Companies like ours were the first to bite the dust and with the overwhelming number of “illegals” killing the market even further competition for work was ferocious. By the end of 2007 we had no income and our business of 25 years folded. Like so many others out there we turned to using credit cards to stay afloat and we chewed through every dime we had in savings just to keep making the payments hoping and praying that work would pick up again. By 2009 we were selling family heirlooms to survive and every dime my parents had left me when they passed away in 2007 was gone as well. The hardest point in my life was when I had to stand at the pawn shop desk and sell off my wedding rings and my mothers few pieces of jewelry just so we could pay bills.
Our mortgage had been sold by that time to Bank of America and we would soon learn that they had no interest in helping anyone but themselves. In stepped the Federal Government and the Bank Bail outs began. We finally hit a wall were we couldn’t make the mortgage payment and Bank of America approached us with a “forbearance agreement”. We were told that if we made these reduced payment for 6 months on time and without fail our mortgage would be modified to a payment we could handle. We jumped at the offer! Again we found ourselves jumping through hoops to fill endless request by Bank of America. We got 7 or 8 request in the mail for the same documents because they couldn’t find or had lost the others. For the next 7 months it was a rollercoaster from hell. They had gotten their “bail out” but were doing nothing to meet the terms set by the government. We in the mean time were watching as our credit now tanked because they were posting our payments as being “late” since we were not making the entire original amount but our hands were tied and there was no turning back.
At the end of the 7 th month we got word from Bank of America that they would not accept any more mortgage payments and that unless we could come up with more than $8000.00 we would be going into FORECLOSURE! WHAT?? How is that possible. They were the ones who put us in this position! We immediately started making calls, writing letters and looking for help from anyone who would listen. We talked to a bankruptcy attorney only to be told we couldn’t even afford to file. We begged, pleaded and sold everything we could just to keep going. Then we thought we found a ray of hope. There was something called the “HOPE” program that was supposed to help people in our situation. We contacted them and were delighted to find out that we met the qualifications and they in turn contacted Bank of America on our behalf to get a “loan modification”. The problem turned out to be that Bank of America was under no obligation to accept this determination despite getting the funding from the federal government to modify mortgages and in our case they did NOTHING!
For the next year they refuse any mortgage payments. At this point the new broke about how some of the biggest mortgage lenders had screwed up mortgages and modification and to no surprise Bank of America was among the top 3 offenders. In January of 2011 we got a letter in the mail telling us that we needed to submit documentation yet again for our mortgage to be modified. We did as asked and this time after talking to them on the phone felt as if we finally were going to get the help we needed. Then the door slammed shut. We got a letter from them in April stating that they were not going to modify our mortgage because and I quote
‘You are not eligible for a Home Affordable Modification because we are unable to create an affordable payment equal to 31% of your reported monthly income. In other words, to create an affordable payment for you, the INVESTOR (Bank of America) of your loan would be required to delay collecting to large a portion of your principal balance until the loan pays off.”
In other words the Bank of America won’t make enough money off our loan so we are fucked!
So here I sit….waiting out the time till the sheriff shows up and places a sale date on my only home. No one cares that when that happens I am going to be HOMELESS in America and not because of anything I did but because of conditions out of my control and because of a bank that would rather have the “tax right off” than a loyal customer willing to make payments on their house.
Truth of the matter is, my credit now will not even allow me to rent an apartment, I can’t afford the outrageous “RENTS” being demanded by other owners and I don’t qualify for government help because my income is too much. I have no one to help my family, no one I can turn to for shelter, and no one who is willing to help me save the ONLY home I will ever have! At 51, with 2 kids still at home and nothing left I am ready to call it quits. I watch my husband work endless hours in a job that leaves us nothing after the bills are paid and no way to secure our future.
I have even thought about standing on a street corner and just begging for help from strangers. I have to believe that there is someone out there ABLE and WILLING to help me and my family save my home, even if that meant buying it and renting it back to me at a price I can afford because unless some angel steps forward….I am knocking on the HOMELESS DOOR and that scares the hell out of me!
IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS OR HELP TO OFFER PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP!