Elderly Civil Rights Activist Faces Foreclosure, Eviction

I've lost count of the number of reports I've read in recent years of an elderly person facing the trauma of losing their home to foreclosure and being taken by ambulance to the hospital on eviction day due to the effects of stress on their

I've lost count of the number of reports I've read in recent years of an elderly person facing the trauma of losing their home to foreclosure and being taken by ambulance to the hospital on eviction day due to the effects of stress on their physical health. Or those who would rather end their own lives rather than face the possibility of being put out on the streets in their senior years.

The story of 78-year-old Helen Bailey is especially poignant this Black History Month, as she was active in the civil rights movement and marched with Martin Luther King.

Change.org has started a petition calling on Chase Bank to make a settlement with Ms. Bailey, and cancel any scheduled foreclosure auction:

Helen Bailey is a 78-year-old grandmother who participated in the civil rights movement, worked as a childcare provider for autistic children, and was a community volunteer. She has paid her mortgage since 1999, but now she can't keep up the payments. All she wants is to stay in her home until she dies, in the neighborhood where she feels safe and has lived for nearly quarter of a century. She could have refinanced with a company willing to let her live in the house for free until her death, but Chase Bank would not reduce her principal by $9,000. She's been paying 7% interest, well above most rates, so Chase could have decided they had made enough. Instead, they have started foreclosure and Ms. Bailey could end on the street.

Since then, Ms. Bailey's lawyer has found an alternate buyer for her home. This sale would provide Ms Bailey with an exit from her current mortgage and allow her to pursue other options for housing. We request that Chase:

· accept the offer of $85,000
· write off any deficiency between the loan balance and the offer
· waive all interest, legal fees and penalties accrued since the initial refinance offer
· cancel any foreclosure auction scheduled

It has been estimated that at foreclosure, Chase may lose over $30,000 compared to this settlement offer. Therefore this option makes the most sense financially for Chase and given Ms Bailey's specific circumstances, there is little moral hazard in this solution.

If you'd like to add your name to the petition calling on Chase to keep Ms. Bailey in her home, you may do so online here.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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