Operation Welcome Home helps Tina Osuocha stay in her home
For Immediate Release: September 12th, 2011
Z! Haukeness, Operation Welcome Home, (608) 358-9993
Tina Osuocha, Homeowner, (608) 622-3335
With the help of Operation Welcome Home (OWH)Tina Osuocha has been granted a year reduced payment on her home loan to stay in her home of 13 years.
“Operation Welcome Home has been a life-saver and helped me save my home,” said Osuocha, whose home is on Madison’s south side. She added, “A home should not be a luxury, or something that can be taken from you so easily. This has been a place that we have raised our children, created memories, and built a family. This is home sweet home.”
Osuocha has been negotiating with Select Portfolio Servicing Inc. for over 5 years. Recently the her home was put up for foreclosure with a Sheriff Sale scheduled for Sept. 7th 2011. OWH, a group know for their housing and homeless organizing, was able to negotiate with Select Portfolio to reverse the foreclosure and negotiate for the reduced payment plan to begin in October 2011.
“It’s the story you hear over and over.” said Z! Haukeness an organizer with OWH “These loan agencies and banks have acted irresponsibly with people’s mortgages, have gotten bailed out with tax payers money, and people are still facing foreclosure. Select Portfolio has done the right thing by taking a small first step to keep Ms. Osuocha in her home.”
Select Portfolio, who holds the loan on the home, has been in the news of late for receiving a high bailout in 2009 and prior to that for fraudulent mortgage activity. They are identified as a sub-prime loan agency and between 2003-2005, before changing their name from Fairbanks Capital Corporation, they were forced to pay a $40 million settlement for engaging in a number of unfair, deceptive, and illegal practices in the servicing of sub-prime mortgage loans. Osuocha said she experienced the results of this by being tricked into a ballooning interest rate reaching 12% APR at its height.
A number of hardships lead to Osuocha falling behind on her mortgage. Osuocha and her husband came to the US in 1982 from Nigeria following a short time in Britain. After 22 years of marriage, Mr. Osuocha died due to illness in 2001. He was an accountant at WPS and the main breadwinner of the family. Osuocha herself worked in home-care for most of her life as well as with the University of Wisconsin. Her most recent job with Ladlake, an organization which supports re-entry of ex-offenders back into the community, ended in April of this year due to a layoff from a failing economy.
The hard economy and her husband’s death was coupled with a battle with the homeowners Insurance company, American Security to get a leaky roof fixed. Osuocha’s roof was damaged due to hail and severe weather in 2006. Since then she has been fighting with and without the help of a lawyer, to attain the coverage she has a right to, and get the roof repaired. This leaking roof prohibited her from renting out the extra room which she did prior to the damage. It wasn’t until recently that it was patched temporarily by a neighboring roof worker passing by, for free, out of kindness and good will. The roof is still in need of full replacement and the struggle for appropriate coverage from the insurance company continues.
Osuocha says her struggle continues and doesn’t end with achieving her own justice. “I want to help other homeowners, renters and homeless people who are facing hardship, in collaboration with OWH to make sure housing is a human right.”