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Jennifer Britt, Detroiter, Considers Offer From Fannie Mae To Lease Foreclosed Home

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/23/2012 4:00 pm Updated: 08/24/2012 12:55 pm

Jennifer Britt, a Detroit woman who has been fighting to keep her home after receiving a writ of eviction in July, has received an offer from the government-sponsored mortgage giant Fannie Mae that would allow her to stay in her home for the next two years, according to Britt's lawyer Joe McGuire.

Britt's near eviction led to a defense campaign that drew crowds to her Rosedale Park home for a vigil lasting several weeks. Her case also attracted the attention of U.S. Representative Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) who personally interceded to work out a deal with Fannie Mae.

According to McGuire, Fannie Mae has now offered Britt a two-year lease for $785 a month. Previously, she said her payments had climbed to nearly $2,000 monthly.

McGuire said she received the written offer last week, but has been hesitant to agree to the arrangement because it contains no guarantee that she can eventually own the house.

"She wants a road to owning her home," he told The Huffington Post. "She doesn't want to just live there another two years, pay rent and have nothing to show for it."

Britt previously told The Huffington Post she put over $45,000 into the house, including $26,000 from her husband's life insurance policy she received after he died in an auto accident. She alleges Flagstar Bank, who held the mortgage, raised her payments and would not allow her to modify them because it was her husband's name on the mortgage, though a probate court had awarded her the estate. Her house was foreclosed on after she couldn't keep up with the payments, and Fannie Mae later acquired the mortgage through a sheriff's auction.

McGuire said his client is interested in working out a deal with Fannie Mae, but wants better terms, like a land contract, mortgage or a lease with an option to buy. She made a counteroffer to this effect on Tuesday, but has not yet heard back from them, he said.

The local nonprofit Southwest Solutions previously attempted to purchase the home on Britt's behalf for $10,000, a price they arrived at after appraising the home, but Fannie Mae did not accept their offer.

Members of Britt's eviction defense team will meet at her house Thursday to discuss their options. The vigil at Britt's home had been suspended this week while negotiations played out, but McGuire said Britt's supporters are ready to resume the action if needed.

A spokeswoman for Flagstar Bank previously told The Huffington Post she would not comment on Britt's case, citing a concern for customer privacy. Fannie Mae was contacted for this story, but did not respond before it was published.

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  • 'Worldly Possessions,' John Moore

    Tracy Munch collects her belongings after an eviction crew cleared furniture from her foreclosed home on Feb. 2, 2009, in Colorado's Adams County. Although she paid her rent, her landlord stopped paying his mortgage. Munch managed to borrow funds to rent another place but not soon enough to avoid this.

  • 'Eviction Team at Work,' John Moore

    Chase Milam, age 1, watches from a crib as a sheriff's deputy and an eviction staffer empty his aunt's home in Milliken, Colo. Brandie Barbiere, whose child care business had declined by more than half, stopped making mortgage payments.

  • 'Stripped Bare,' John Moore

    Children sprawl on the living room floor as an eviction crew removes furniture during an Oct. 5, 2011, foreclosure in Milliken, Colo. Eleven months earlier, Brandie Barbiere had stopped paying her mortgage. The bank took possession of the property after receiving a court order.

  • 'Foreclosed Home Interior. Pittsburgh [Area], Atlanta, GA,' Brian Shumway

    Squatters may have hunkered down at Atlanta's 964 Sims St. SW, photographed by Brian Shumway in May 2009. At the time, Georgia ranked seventh in foreclosures nationwide. By the end of 2011, Georgia ranked fourth.

  • 'Katrina, Whose Home Was in Foreclosure, Stands Outside Her Mother's Home Holding Her Daughter. Atlanta, GA,' Brian Shumway

    Outside her mother's house in Atlanta's Pittsburgh neighborhood, Katrina Scott holds her daughter. This predominantly poor, black neighborhood was hard hit by foreclosures in 2009.

  • '11th Ave., Saint Paul, MN, 2008,' T.J. Proechel

    "By the time we got to the house parts of the roof had fallen in and there was water damage all throughout the house," T.J. Proechel writes. "West St. Paul is a working class neighborhood that used to be adjacent to the large stockyards in St. Paul, which have all but disappeared."

  • '23rd Ave., Minneapolis, MN, 2009,' T.J. Proechel

    Elsewhere in a home previously owned by a Mexican family who had moved to Minnesota, T.J. Proechel saw something unique: "The father of the family was a tiler and although it was a really simple stripped down house there was elaborate tile work all throughout it," he writes.

  • 'Michael, Saint Paul, MN, 2009,' T.J. Proechel

    When T.J. Proechel worked as a contractor, fixing up and maintaining foreclosed properties, he would also try to photograph the homes involved. His boss was Michael, shown here.

  • 'Foreclosure Alley, Antelope Valley, California, 2009,' Guillaume Zuili

    "I don't know if that lone person ... was leaving or coming in," says Guillaume Zuili. "I drove for miles and miles into ghost towns, emptied gated communities, deserted malls for sale, half-built cities, roads ending in nothing ... everything had stopped." Filming or even talking to people wasn't easy.

  • 'Untitled,' Bruce Gilden

    In Fort Myers, Fla., Bruce Gilden discovered Christine Baker living in a van in 2008. The bank had foreclosed on her house.

  • 'Untitled,' Bruce Gilden

    A swimming pool lies adjacent to a foreclosed house near Fresno, Calif., in 2010.

  • 'Untitled,' Bruce Gilden

    Outside Fresno, Calif., in 2010, Bruce Gilden found this housing development unfinished.

  • 'Untitled' from the series 'Just a Dream,' John Francis Peters

    John Peters' images focus on what's left behind "to convey the weight of the crisis at large as well as the energy/emotion I felt within each individual home," he writes. He'd spend time "quietly engaging the environment and attempted to visually bridge the physical and emotional space within."

  • 'Untitled' from the series 'Just a Dream,' John Francis Peters

    "These environmental details are fading hints from more complicated individual stories and they exist neither here nor there," John Peters writes. This "allows the viewer to engage the images in a unique way, where they may apply personal experience or creatively identify with the foreclosure crisis."

  • 'Foreclosed Home, Inland Empire, CA,' Lauren Greenfield

    Lauren Greenfield tried to capture "the surburban dream and the suburban nightmare in one image," says her husband, Frank Evers. The house for sale on the right presents a stark contrast to its neighbor in the Rosetta Canyon development in Lake Elsinore, Calif.