In America today, even men and women returning from war can't expect their families to be exempt from the foreclosure crisis.
On the same day that soldier Aaron Collette returned from a tour of duty in Iraq to his father Tim's home in Bend, Oregon, that very house was bought back at auction due to foreclosure, local news KTVZ reports. According to ThinkProgess, a campaign by Senator Jeff Merkely (D-OR ) had delayed the foreclosure proceedings. But still, despite promising to work with the Collettes, JPMorgan Chase eventually went through with reportedly repurchasing the home.
Aaron and his dad are no different from the millions of people who have been foreclosed upon due to a crisis that has seen also affected numbers of military personnel.
"Average Joe, nobody special -- even my situation isn't special," Collette's father told local news KTVZ, despite his son's status as an active-duty member of the military. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, active-duty soldiers are protected against foreclosure unless it is court-ordered, but Collette's case would seem to imply that a parent's foreclosure is not covered.
Collette's case if far from the first military-related foreclosure controversy. The Justice Department recently agreed to a $22 million settlement with a unit of Bank of America and Saxon Mortgage Services, a division of Morgan Stanley, to provide relief for more than 170 active-duty service members who were victims of improper foreclosure proceedings.
Likewise, JPMorgan Chase will pay $27 million in reparations for overcharging around 6,000 active-duty military personnel on their mortgages, according to Businessweek.
While Aaron will be returning to Iraq after his two-week leave, his father Tim, who could no longer afford mortgage payments after his construction business failed during the recession, will be facing an eviction notice soon. His lawyers are determined to fight the foreclosure. And for Aaron, that's additional stress that he doesn't need.
"To have to worry about if he is going to be in a house when I come home," Collete told KTVZ, "it's just always worried me."