Patricia’s husband Darren was on the phone. He told her that the sheriff, the realtor and a locksmith were waiting for her to grab her medication. She had only minutes to grab what she could before the realtor had the locksmith changed the locks on their house. They would have limited access to the home for sixteen days to remove the rest of their belongings.
The forced eviction came as a surprise. Patricia and Darren are currently disputing the foreclosure and the ownership of their home in court. It all began a couple of years ago when Patricia was diagnosed with a pulmonary disease which required her to be on oxygen throughout the day. It made it impossible to keep her job, so she had to take a medical retirement.
Unfortunately, this made making payments on Patricia and Darren’s home very difficult. They attempted to contact their lender, First Franklin, to negotiate a modification. After months and months of phone calls and letters, there was still no response. No word for over a year. When they finally did hear from them, they told the bank had lost their paperwork and they would have to reapply for a modification. In the following six months their house was foreclosed and put up for sale and they did not hear a word about the process until they received a letter that they no longer owned the home.
Patricia and Darren went to court to attempt to challenge the foreclosure. How could a lender refuse to work with them then sell their house from under them without notice? They attended many hearings challenging whether Steel Capital Steel acted properly.
“The average person believes in authority,” says Patricia. “When they come across it like when they can’t make a house payment they automatically think that they have to move. They don’t stop to think whether the people trying to evict them actually have the right to do that.”
Fighting in the courts is not a straightforward process. Patricia and Darren found this out the hard way as the judge ended up ruling in favor of an eviction despite that they were still appealing the foreclosure. A three-stay on the eviction was all they could obtain. That’s when they received a visit from the Sheriff.
“They are trying to steal our house. We have to defend our land. We can’t just roll over and let them take something we have worked so hard to achieve,” says Patricia. “They are using deceptive and fraudulent means to take people’s homes and using the court system to back them up.”
However, the lending company and the realtor had different plans. Despite signing an agreement that gave the couple 16 days to remove their belongings, they they sent in movers and were an hour into removing their belongings from their home when Darren found them. They had their signed agreement, so the movers had to go.
Patricia and Darren were shocked that the realtor would violate their agreement. Some of their neighbors came out to support them. The neighbors told them to fight and that they didn’t want to lose them as neighbors. Fortunately, for Patricia and Darren they had made some friends after attending the We Are Oregon foreclosure community meetings and one of their neighbors Angelah Hill urged them to stay in their home and to get the support of their community.
Patricia and Darren have decided to stay and fight. They are calling on their neighbors and community supporters to help them. With the window closing before the realtor takes over their home and removes their belongings, Patricia and Darren have decided they have just one option left.
The couple is standing their ground. “I have always been a person who has followed the rules and stuck to the game plan. But in the ways that foreclosures of today are being carried out the lenders need to be accountable for their fraudulence.” says Patricia. “Not just for us but for the person standing behind me. You have to take a stand sometime, somewhere, somehow.”
On Sunday, October 14th, Patricia and Darren will be moving back into the home that was taken from them unjustly. They plan to stay in their home, with community support, refusing to be moved by the home poachers and foreclosure.
Join the fight for housing justice by signing up for the Rapid Response Network. The Rapid Response Network will show up at a moment’s notice to support homeowners who are being evicted. You can sign up by sending this text message @ploc-openrrn to the number 23559.
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