Your Voices: Military Family Faces Foreclosure
This is the second installment of Dispatches from the Displaced, in which one homeowner shares his or her story of facing foreclosure to represent the over 10,000 houses that are foreclosed each weekday. Read yesterday's story from Connie in Queen's Creek, AZ here.
Have a story on how a home foreclosure has affected you, your family or your friends? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and sign up here to receive updates on the feature as it progresses.
Today's testimonial comes from a military family. Carol Ann Smith has a son serving in Iraq and a husband who served in Vietnam.
I have a daughter who is mentally ill and my husband and I are raising her two children. The cost of her treatment and the care of the children made it difficult to pay the bills. My husband taught Algebra and Geometry in the public schools and I am a second shift computer operator.
In desperate circumstances we refinanced our home with HSBC at a 12% rate, thinking that we could refinance in a year. Then, my husband had a stroke and had to take early retirement. We quit paying our mortgage and filed bankruptcy.
HSBC has offered an 8% rate, but they added $18,000 to our $180,000 mortgage, raising the loan amount to $208,000. The house would not appraise for more that $180,000.
We received this offer in a letter. The payment is still too high. I have tried to call HSBC and left at least 20 or 30 messages, but they do not return my calls (we have signed a waiver through our attorney allowing direct contact.) If they would work with us on the payment, we would be able to stay in our home. It is just frustrating that they won't return my calls.
No one placed a gun to our head and made us make this terrible loan, but we are willing to pay back every cent if they would only lower the rate to make the payment something we can afford. Otherwise, HSBC will own a home that needs quite a bit of work, in a neighborhood where several homes are already for sale.
My husband is a Vietnam veteran and my son is currently in Iraq. We are good citizens that have faced life changing events. I pray for everyone going through the anxiety and stress of losing a home. Ultimately, we are all in this together.
Today, while Smith stares down foreclosure, over 10,000 people will lose their homes. Today also marks the launch of the Home Defenders campaign run by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. Homeowners in seven cities across the country, including New York and Los Angeles, have banded together to fight foreclosure with acts of civil disobedience. These so-called homesteaders will risk arrest by staying in their homes while banks and law enforcement inevitably attempt to throw them out.
For testimonials from these homesteaders and others facing foreclosure, take a look at Brave New Foundation's new site, Fighting For Our Homes.