For the next several weeks, HuffPost will be cross-posting "Foreclosure Horror Stories" from the Home Defenders League's "100 Stories Of What Wall Street Broke" series, which is collecting first-person accounts from homeowners around the country. Homeowners can submit their own stories here. This post, written by Jacqueline Barber of Atlanta, Ga., originally appeared in a slightly different form here.
My name is Jacqueline Barber. I spent 20 years working as an officer and detective for the Atlanta Police Department. I am working with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta.
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. Though 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 $1500. 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 over $3,000 to assist us.
Finally, in early 2012, I received a letter from an executive vice president at 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 a third of what I had paid for it, 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, their enforcer and servicer. 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 of financial instrument that led to the crash of our economy in the first place. U.S. Bank is trying to place the blame on GMAC, which has claimed it is in the hands of the investors who now hold the mortgage.
U.S. Bank and GMAC are demanding that my family vacate the property immediately. It is unclear at this point who actually owns my home. The stress of all this has caused my cancer to come out of remission, and I have had to resume aggressive treatment to fight it.
On October 11th of last year, 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 have told my story to dozens of news outlets. I have worked with others in my situation to gather 20,000 signatures on a petition to U.S. Bank and GMAC, demanding they negotiate in good faith to keep me in my home. I traveled to Minneapolis to deliver those petitions in person to the world headquarters of U.S. Bank. I have not given up.
I'm gathering my friends, family, and community by my side to deter an eviction that could come in a matter of days. I am still fighting. You can support me here.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is part of the Right to the City Alliance and Home Defenders League.
To learn more about the Right To The City Alliance, see here.
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