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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Dispossessed: Geary Brown Dodges Eviction

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM


In a feature story last month, "The Dispossessed," we wrote about a Bayview homeowner named Geary Brown who was on the verge of getting evicted.He had been foreclosed on after he missed several mortgage payments while seeking to modify his loan.

Bank of America, which owned his mortgage, had put his house on the market. His eviction date, we noted, was May 2, the same day the story ran.

That day came and went with no movement. But then earlier this month, BofA agreed to stop the eviction and rescind the sale. The bank said it would open up discussion for modification.

Brown himself has not been in contact with the bank. Rather, a network of housing advocates serves as his liaison: James Buckley at the city's Citizen's Housing Corporation, Ed Donaldson at the nonprofit San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, as well as volunteers from Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

Brown is filling out the application for the modification. He hopes to get his monthly mortgage payments down from $2,800 to $1,800, which was the amount he thought he signed up for when he refinanced his home through an adjustable rate mortgage in 2007.

By 2010, after Brown's wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he struggled to make payments. So he sought to get a loan modification. As we wrote in the feature:

[H]e paid American Home Financing, a foreclosure assistance service, $3,500 to help get him a loan modification. The company told him to stop paying his mortgage until a representative got back to him, he says (American Home Financing did not answer several calls from SF Weekly). This was a common piece of advice: In many cases, banks only considered modification once a homeowner proved hardship. But American Home Finance never got back to him. (The Better Business Bureau has given the company an "F" rating.) Brown missed six straight payments.

The bank has considered giving him a modification in the past, to no avail. So Brown still has his guard up.

"If it comes through, I think that'll be cool," he says.

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