One of these days soon, a letter will arrive at Dorothy Akers’ tidy bungalow in Salem.
It’s going to tell the disabled grandmother the date by which she must vacate the modest home she purchased in 2009 — or be thrown out by sheriff’s deputies.
That’s what the judge told her in court Tuesday, when she showed up as the defendant in an eviction case. Akers, 75, grows emotional contemplating that upcoming day.
She’s a proud person — a graduate of Andrew Lewis High School, with two years of college. She worked up to age 74, never lived beyond her means, often paid her mortgage early, sometimes months ahead. She might be working today, if her arthritic knees and hip were more cooperative, and if the preschool where she taught hadn’t gone belly up in 2012.
The spring of 2012 was when troubles hit Akers hard. Besides being laid off, three trees came down in her yard during the June 2012 derecho. Akers’ bathroom needed new plumbing — the floor was rotting from leaks. Then her central air unit went kaput, and her 30-year-old water heater sprang a leak and flooded her kitchen.
All of the above exhausted her savings, and her only income was $944 a month in Social Security, plus some unemployment (which ran out this past June). So Akers applied to Bank of America for a mortgage modification. She easily fit the definition of a distressed homeowner in a federal law designed to assist them.
She went to credit counseling, as BOA prescribed. Over the next six months she faxed them years worth of tax returns, bank statements, utility bills and other documents they kept requesting. They even wanted documentation on how much it cost Akers each month to feed her cat, she says.
She did the faxing from a UPS Store that charged her $2 per page. (Altogether, she spent $204 in fax fees.)
Finally, BOA told Akers she qualified for a mortgage modification. Then, she says, they sold her loan, along with a million or so others, to a company in Texas called Nationstar.
Nationstar said they would honor the BOA’s modification determination, Akers told me. But they told her she had to go through the application process all over again.
They needed all the same documents faxed to them. So Akers did it.
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