Something to be Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Local Charlotte Family Achieves Victory in Fight to Save Home
(Charlotte, NC) On Thursday November 1, Silvia Sanchez and her family finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel, in their journey to save their home. When Silvia went in for a routine scheduled visit with her housing counselor, she received news that Bank of America would no longer be foreclosing on their home. According to a notice she received, the bank would bring their loan up to date and “permanently reduce [their] principal balance by the amount of $63,323.67”.
For over a decade, Silvia and Gonzalo Sanchez have lived with their three children in their Charlotte home. Their daughter Jessica suffers from hydrocephalus and has spinal bifida, a birth defect that makes her unable to walk. Because of this she is confined to a wheelchair and the Sanchez family has spent the last 10 years retrofitting their home to make it livable for their daughter, including adding ramps and wider doorways.
“For our daughter’s sake, we needed to do everything we could to keep our home,” said Silvia Sanchez, “Our daughter suffers from constant pain and this is her home. We can’t just move; she needs special accommodations.”
Mr. Sanchez lost his job when the economy collapsed, and had been struggling to make ends meet. Then, the Sanchez family began receiving notices from Bank of America, stating that their home would go into foreclosure.
Despite repeated requests, Bank of America was unwilling to offer assistance even though the family had been in their home since 2000.
This is when they came to the attention of community organizers at Action NC. Through a friend, Silvia heard about the activist organization and all its successes in helping communities fight back against injustices. According to Silvia’s husband Gonzalo, “we knew that working with Bank of America on its terms was getting us nowhere. Action NC showed us that we could fight back and win, if we had the courage to speak out and work with our community”.
As members of Action NC, the Sanchez family organized a strong media campaign and participated in several rallies, including speaking out at the May 9th Bank of America Shareholder meeting in Charlotte and in events surrounding the DNC convention. The family also hosted several phone-banking events in there home, in order to educate and reach out to other homeowners in despair. According to Silvia, “I don’t know what we would have done, if Action NC hadn’t gotten involved. They helped us have a voice and to save our home”.
The community’s response to the Sanchez family’s needs was nothing short of heartwarming. People from all over the country sent in donations, to help them save their home. Over $10,000 has been collected to date. The donated money, together with counseling from the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), and a steady stream of media attention helped motivate Bank of America to take the Sanchez family seriously.
As a result of the increased scrutiny, and on the recommendation of her counselors, Silvia agreed to have her case reviewed by the Department of Justice. Like millions of homeowners across America, Silvia qualified for assistance through the AG Settlement deal, which charged the banks with setting aside money to help in just this situation. Thanks to this concerted effort, the Sanchez family received a reduction in their principal, forgiveness of their arrearage and a modified monthly payment that would work with their budget.
To the Sanchez family, the outcome clearly illustrated what hard work and the will to fight injustice can accomplish.