Clark’s Home

 

For 9 years Frank Clark lived as a homeless man on the streets of Los Angeles, California. “Not couch surfing or living with friends, I’m talking about sleeping in alleys and doorways.” His unstable childhood led him to a life on the streets. During this period he recalls what it was like to be homeless during the holidays: “I remember sleeping on a sidewalk during Christmas. I remember looking up at the lights on the houses and thinking ‘Somebody lives there and calls that place home. How do people do that?’” 

 
14 years ago he made a return visit to Minnesota. It was Christmas time and he was still homeless. He stayed in Minnesota, got clean, met his wife Kristina, joined a Laborers Union, and went to work. This was 13 years ago. He became a member of Laborers Local 563 and has been a hard working dues paying member ever since. He and his wife worked on their credit scores, saved money and prepared to buy a home. In 2004 they were told that the only way for them to qualify for a loan was to accept an adjustable rate mortgage. They wisely decided to refuse the offer and wait until they could qualify for a fixed rate, conventional payment option. 
 
In 2006 Frank and Kristina were working full time and had built up a solid credit rating. They were told that they could finally qualify for a sensible fixed rate mortgage. They found a home in Coon Rapids for $230,000 and went for it. They made all payments on time until 2009, when labor jobs declined dramatically across the state, and Frank’s hours were cut. They applied for a loan modification and were offered a payment that was only slightly less than the original. Bank of America refused to offer anything other than a refinance plan that would have cost them more money in taxes and closing fees. 
 
After refusing the modification offer, Bank of America stopped taking their payments. On Feb 6th, 2012 their home was sold at sheriff’s sale. Ironically the buyer was the original Lender, Bank of America. BofA bought the note for $139,000. To be clear, Bank of America was unwilling to offer a modification for Frank and Kristina, but were more than willing to do so for themselves.

Frank and Kristina have been supporters of the Occupy Minnesota movement since the beginning, when they spent countless hours volunteering at the People’s Plaza.  They have built a community movement to prevent their eviction and to expose the truth of the foreclosure crisis affecting families not only in the city but also in the suburbs.  They have gained tremendous support from friends, family, neighbors, a local church, the Laborer’s Union, the Minnesota Attorney General, local media, and the Coon Rapids City Council.  Kristina shared her personal foreclosure story at a city council meeting and is supporting Our Future Minnesota in their fight to pass legislation preventing private banks from using public expenses when carrying out evictions.  Kristina stated, “Whatever happened with our home, I hope I have the strength and courage to go on to help other people.”  

With the support of Occupy Homes MN, Frank Clark and Kristina Darrington were able to receive a loan modification from Bank of America and Freddie Mac.  However, the modification included hidden fees that would have increased their payments, and the couple chose to decline the offer and move out of the home.

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Erik Knutson published this page in Our Homes 2012-08-01 20:10:34 -0500