Senior Citizen from Home Foreclosure

By Denise Jackson

July 15, 2010 Updated Mar 27, 2008 at 7:29 PM CDT

Bad news is about all that's building in the housing industry.
Home sales have fallen a whopping 33% since 2005, and if you think values are dropping, analysts say they need to fall even more to match reality.

Those statistics are only adding to old problems that have caused a mortgage crisis, which Congress plans to make a major priority next week.

A local senior citizen faced a mortgage crisis of her own after she consolidated bills with her mortgage and found herself victim to a predatory lending scam.

69-year old Carol Thomas says last summer she had to turn to a Veterans group for help in paying her house mortgage.
The seasonal school district worker says her payments jumped from 500 to 800 dollars a month.

"August I run out of funds, but I was back to work and with my jobs I was just able to do it. I never really missed any, when they told me to stop making them I did then they put me in default," said Thomas.

The widow and grandmother found herself with an adjustable rate mortgage. She says a former housing broker suggested she consolidate her home improvement loan with her mortgage.

After the first two years her interest rates would increase every 6 months. Faced with that prospect the widow says she was not sure she would be able to keep her home.

"I've lived here in this house for 12 years and I moved here to give my husband a better life. They were convincing me to sell and I just could not do it," said Thomas.

After months of seeking help Thomas teamed up with the Central Illinois Organizing Project. The regional faith based group renegotiated an agreement that brought her a much lower interest rate.

"We work with that service or lender to try to do a workout that's gonna be amicable to the service or lender and to the homeowner," said Dr. Eugene Barnes from Central Illinois Organizing Project.

Housing advocates say for every home saved like Thomas' there are 13 foreclosed on. They also say some people in the financial industry prey on seniors and first time home buyers.

Thomas says she's finally relieved from the financial burden.
"I'm gonna have a hard time trusting anyone now, second guessing myself. Because I trusted people."

She's speaking out now so other seniors and folks won't be mislead like she was.

Senior Citizens who might have questions about lending practices should click on the related link or they can call Central Illinois Organizing Project at 827–9627.

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