When Nikki and her husband purchased their house in Raleigh in February of 2006, the future was bright. They looked forward to raising their 3 children and eventually growing old together in their home . Nikki has been a licensed in-home child care provider for the last 12 years. She and her husband both worked full time to provide for their children. In October of 2007, they were late on their mortgage payment. U.S. Bank National Association, who accepted $27 million in bailout money, asked that the family "catch up" on payments. In October of 2007, they paid $1156.00; in November of 2007, they paid $1300.00; and in December of 2007, they paid $1500.00.
On December 13, 2007, Nikki's husband was injured in a head-on collision. In January of 2008, Nikki advised ASC (the servicer of her loan) that her husband was still out of work due to injuries he sustained in the December car accident. ASC advised Nikki that her husband's condition qualified her for a loan modification. From January to April of 2008, Nikki diligently called ASC monthly to check on the status of her loan modification. She never received any paperwork, but ASC assured her that her case was "under review."
In April of 2008, Nikki's grandfather passed away. Nikki took the loss of her grandfather very hard. He had been the man who raised her, the most important figure in her childhood. While Nikki grieved for her grandfather, she received the first acceleration letter in the mail. By May 2, 2008, U.S. Bank National Association appointed a substitute trustee. That document was signed by a known robo-signer, Sean Nix. Nikki felt overwhelmed, but she knew she had to save her home for her family. She took the only option left to her and filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy; that filing automatically stopped foreclosure proceedings. She and her husband kept up with their structured payments for a full 14 months until Nikki's husband lost his job. In October of 2009, the bankruptcy was dismissed because they could no longer keep up with the payments.
On November 22, 2010, Nikki's home was sold back to the bank at a foreclosure auction. On December 5, 2010, a Wells Fargo representative offered Nikki $3,000 in a "cash for keys" scam. Nikki refused the offer and stayed in her home with her family. Nikki was told she should consult a HUD approved housing counselor. With the assistance of Freedom Financial Services, Nikki filed a "motion to set aside judgment and cancel sale” on Dec. 20, 2010. Two days later, her motion was denied by the Wake County Clerk of Courts.
The eviction date was set for April 24, 2011. Nikki did not want her children to witness a forcible eviction by the police. Instead, she and her family packed up their belongings into a "POD" that weekend and took shelter at a neighbor's home.
When Nikki left her home, she also lost her livelihood. She had been running a licensed day care out of her home. She dutifully followed every step the bank, servicers, and housing counselors told her would save her home. When all of those efforts failed, the prospect of no home for her family and no income to provide for her children was simply overwhelming. In July of 2011, she and her family sought refuge with relatives in Washington, D.C.
Nikki and her family returned to Raleigh on Feb. 2, 2012. They have been staying at Nikki's mother's home. She received a notice from GMAC on March 15 stating “anything left within the premises after 4/8/2012 will be considered trash.”
This notice did not close the book on Nikki's struggle. Instead, with renewed determination, Nikki decided to fight to save her home. When Nikki's family was evicted, her community lost more than a neighbor. Nikki provided a valuable child care service to her community. The property taxes and state and local taxes that create revenue were lost. Every time a house is foreclosed upon, the property value of the surrounding houses is reduced. Nikki and her family are not alone. There were 66 thousand foreclosures in the state of North Carolina in 2011. How many homes must be abandoned, how many neighborhoods torn apart, how many families must be displaced, before the public wakes up?? The time is now. SAVE OUR COMMUNITIES: FIGHT FORECLOSURE!