Jacqueline Barber, a retired Atlanta police detective who has been fighting cancer and eviction, gets to keep her home after a long battle with her mortgage holder.
I first reported Barber's story nearly a year ago, and many of you dear readers helped by signing her petition.
Barber spent 20 years working as an officer and detective for the Atlanta Police Department. In 1998, she was struck by a car while on the job, causing spinal injuries that left her unable to work. Forced into early retirement, she spent the next few years recovering.
In 2005, while visiting a former co-worker with her daughter, she came across the home in Fayetteville she calls her "dream home." A friend encouraged her to apply for a loan, and within a few weeks the dream home was hers.
Shortly after the housing bubble burst and the economy crashed, the adjustable rate on her mortgage reset, causing the payments to go up by almost $1500. Meanwhile, the value of her home began to plummet.
Then tragedy struck. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer, Barber began aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Her son helped her begin the long process of applying for a loan modification with Wells Fargo. After almost a year of treatment, including a bone marrow transplant, the disease went into remission, but her mortgage troubles were far from over.
For 2 years, Barber sent document after document to the bank, attended countless seminars with housing counseling agencies, and tried everything she could to obtain a loan modification, all while still in a wheelchair from the pain she was suffering. She even fell victim to a so called “foreclosure rescue” group, paying them over $3000 to assist her. Finally in early 2012, a letter from the executive VP of Wells Fargo assured her that they were working on her case.
Then came a letter a few weeks later from US Bank, claiming they had purchased my home at auction for less than a third of what I had paid for it, and demanding that Barber and her grandchildren vacate the property. Despite their assurances that they were working on my case, it seemed Wells Fargo had moved forward with the foreclosure, and the family was faced with being put out of their home.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta helped her negotiate a deal with her lender after the long struggle. Gone now are the Occupy Our Homes tents and protest signs are now from Barber's property, and she can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Barber, a retired narcotics detective, a grandmother of four and a bone marrow cancer patient fought and won the right to keep her home after facing nearly certain eviction.
"The fight has been so long and hard, but I'm good now, really good," Barber said.
Since spring of last year, Barber tried to get her lender to modify her loan.
Her mortgage adjusted from $2,400 a month to $3,800.
The loan changed hands several times.
Barber offered to buy back her home for $150,000, but the new holder of the loan told her to pay $200,000 or get out.
"It was wearing me down," Barber said.
With the help of activists from Occupy Our Homes and the nonprofit group, Home Free, Barber struck a deal with Ocwen and U.S. Bank to buy back the home for less than market value.
"If it had not been for occupy, I wouldn't be here," Barber said.
"If you want to stand your ground, you have to stand your ground. You have to stay there and fight for it," Barber said.