From the Jan.-Feb. 2011 issue of News & Letters:
On Jan. 13 Silvia Baca appeared in Housing Court and found that the loan company had sold her house on Nov. 4–for one-fourth what she and her husband had paid. Below is the history of her ongoing struggle against eviction.
Chicago–My husband and I bought a house in 2006. A year later, we wanted to refinance. Ruth, working with TCF Bank, told my cousin not to send the next payment because the closing would be Oct. 8. But the closing didn’t happen.
Our mortgage was transferred from Fremont Mortgage to Litton Loan Servicing without notice to me. My papers say they are supposed to tell you two months before a transfer. Litton said they needed me to send the payments. I said, How can I send the payments to Litton when I sent them to Fremont already? So I was behind in my mortgage. All they offered me was a repayment plan–with a lot of interest.
I didn’t know my interest would change every year. It kept increasing. The papers said the interest could get increased every six months, but it started to increase every three months.
They tried a lot of things to get me out of my house. We tried four times to get a modification. First they said we sent the papers and money late, but I had sent papers by mail and by fax. They did not return my money until eight months later.
The second time, they told me they were going to do it internally. A month later, they sent me a letter that my husband didn’t qualify for modification. He was still working. I said, Why is he not eligible for a modification when he was eligible to buy the house?
My husband lost his job when his company closed. We spent all his unemployment to pay for the house. One day I told him I’m not going to send any more payments because for two years I haven’t been able to buy my kids clothes, shoes, school supplies.
After he was unemployed, we called Litton and they denied the modification again and returned the checks. I told the judge that they didn’t explain why. At a hearing he asked the lawyer why they sent the checks back. The lawyer said, “I don’t know.” The judge told him to go back to Litton and tell them they need to start doing the modification.
Litton called me and said, We’re going to do a modification by Obama’s program. With the last payment I sent, I called to let them know. They said we’d get the modification, and to call them in ten days. When I did, they sent me straight to a message that said your modification is denied. The judge said he could do nothing, we had to move in 30 days.
As we left the courtroom, I found some people from the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. They asked us, Do you want to keep your house? We said, if we can fight for our house we will fight. The day when those people told me I could fight for my house was the first time I felt like I was not alone. When I was working with those banks, I felt they were very powerful and I had nothing in my hands to fight with.
I found my house had been sold to HSBC in 2008. What are they doing to us? I kept working with people in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and my house was already sold!
My kids say they want to fight to keep our house. They don’t want to move from the neighborhood and lose their friends.
Sometimes my daughter comes with me to get more families involved in this fight. She made a big banner with big letters to say “STOP FORECLOSURES. I’M NOT GOING TO LEAVE MY HOUSE.” She arranged with the principal to let us speak with the kids at the school, to invite them to join us in canvassing and attend meetings.
If I lose my house, I want to fight for others who are in the same situation. The money we pay in taxes, the government gives to these banks. I think we all have a right to have a good place to live, especially when there are kids there.