[caption id="" align="alignright" width="114" caption="Tanya Dennis, facing a second foreclosure after retaking her home from Wells Fargo."][/caption] How many times have we heard this story? A woman falls behind on her house payments due to a medical emergency that forces time off from work and racks up huge medical bills. The bank moves in on the house, refusing to make any reasonable modifications on the loan, and forces the woman from her home. That's what happened to South Berkeley, CA resident Tanya Dennis. Dennis, a former vice principal at local Castlemont High School, fell behind on her payments to Wells Fargo after major surgery on her back kept her out of work and deep in debt. Even with decades of making payments, the bank foreclosed on her and called in the sheriff to evict her, putting her out on the street with few possessions. Ordinarily, the story fades out here, with the erstwhile homeowner picking up the pieces somewhere else. But Tanya Dennis didn't go that route. Instead, she called a locksmith, changed the locks and opened the door back into her own home. Stripped bare when the lender sold everything left in the house after eviction, including carpeting, Dennis still has her home back, pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo, who securitized the home loan and can't even prove that it owns the note. Ironically, Wells Fargo received around $25 billion in direct cash from the federal government as part of the bank bailout along with preferential rule changes that allow it to gobble up other banks, also worth around $25 billion. The bailout money was supposed to allow Wells Fargo to stay afloat and to ease the pain of homeowners facing the twin jobs and foreclosure crises. Instead, it allowed Wells Fargo to purchase other banks and financial firms, including troubled Wachovia. It's not only Dennis that would get a happy ending if she got her home back with a loan modification allowing her to pay a reasonable mortgage payment tied to the actual value of the home. People living on her street would have another neighbor to watch out for crime, to pick up litter in the street and in the yard, and to ultimately help keep their own home value up. And Wells Fargo themselves would benefit. They would keep a steady income from mortgage payments on the home, even if reduced, rather than letting the house sit empty, weeds growing in the yard, while they try to sell the foreclosure in a severely depressed housing market. If you want to take action and help Tanya, click here to send a letter to Wells Fargo from our friends at the Alliance of Californians for Community Improvement and the Home Defenders League.
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