Bed-Stuy Grandma Blocks Eviction

By Natasha Lennard

From inside Mary Lee Ward’s small and sparsely furnished living room in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, it sounded Friday as if a block party was in full swing in the street below.  Cars and trucks honked their horns as they passed and almost 200 voices could be heard cheering and chanting.

But this was no street party; it was not yet 9 a.m. and the crowd outside was there as a line of defense.

Ms. Ward — a tiny, soft-spoken 82-year-old — faced eviction by a city marshal on Friday morning, as the result of a subprime mortgage she took out in 1995. The lender, which filed for bankruptcy in 2007, had subsequently been investigated for predatory and discriminatory practices.  And so neighbors, friends, housing advocates and supporters formed a thick human wall outside Ms. Ward’s small, gray house on Tompkins Avenue.

If I’m evicted today, that’s it for anybody who’s a senior citizen,” Ms. Ward, who has lived in the house since 1967, said earlier in the morning, sitting in her living room next to a table covered with legal documents.  “It would show they can break up the community and do anything to us.”

Fifteen years ago, Ms. Ward says, she needed money for a lawyer to help keep her great-granddaughter from being put up for adoption.  Like many others in her neighborhood, she turned to a subprime lender.

She signed a contract with Delta Funding, a company she found advertised on a flier tucked in her mailbox. She borrowed $82,000 against her house, but claims she only ever received a payment of $1,000.

TO READ FULL STORY, CLICK HERE –> FALLOUT FROM A SUBPRIME MORTGAGE IN BROOKLYN – NYTimes.com.

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About griotcircle

GRIOT Circle is an intergenerational and culturally diverse community-based social service organization responsive to the realities of older lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, two-spirit and transgender people (LGBTST) of all colors. The Brooklyn-based non-profit was founded in 1996 by Regina Shavers to promote healthy living and sustainability, and support the unique social services needs of the LGBTST elders community in New York.

Posted on August 20, 2011, in Elder Advocacy, Family & Friends, Inspire Someone, Money Matters, Pride & Politics, Retired & Living, Taking the Lead and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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