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Just Thoughts is the blog of the Empire Justice Center, New York’s statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy public interest law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low income families live. Here staff and guest authors will share stories, announcements and perspectives on timely issues related to our work.

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Winning with tenacity- Empire Justice helps save another home from foreclosure

Issue Area: Housing

Dave is the epitome of tenacity. For more than four years he’s been fighting tooth and nail to save his family’s home from foreclosure.  A single father of three and a Navy veteran, Dave was unable to work after a back injury during his service.  So he used his savings to pay his mortgage, until that was no longer an option.

In 2011 his lender filed a foreclosure action against him, and he faced the possibility of losing his home.

Throughout the four-year process of fighting foreclosure and applying for a loan modification, Dave received what seemed like a never ending flood of repeated document requests. At each turn we helped him gather and submit the tax forms, the benefit letters, and the bank statements. Only to have the banks come back and say they didn’t receive them or requesting more information, leading to the entire process being repeated.

All in all, we submitted 15 loss mitigation packets—an extraordinary amount for a typical foreclosure case—each totaling over 80 pages.

But Dave was determined. He wouldn’t give up, and neither would we.

Together we tried every option available. Our advocates escalated the case several times, and each time the bank claimed that they didn’t own the loan, that their “hands were tied.” Dave contacted the press, he contacted the Veterans Administration, and he filed a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). We highlighted his case in our policy report, In the Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclosure Damage Continues (link), putting pressure on policymakers to support neighborhoods and homeowners like Dave.

It is this type relentless advocacy - tenacity - that ultimately leads to a win.

Utilizing all of our advocacy tools, we convinced the bank to take responsibility for the loan, and they gave Dave the modification he needed to afford his monthly payments.  Now he and his three kids can stay in the house that for the last 13 years they've called home.

Congratulations, Dave!

suburban house

While we celebrate this success, we recognize that there are many homeowners that face the foreclosure process alone, without an attorney. Your support helps us represent more homeowners—stabilizing neighborhoods, communities, and families. Thank you.


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