Dorothy Debose, 76, has lived in her East Oakland community her whole life. While her community has been impacted by violence, hard economic times and neglect, Dorothy has kept a positive energy and spirit. She has also seen longtime neighbors priced out of Oakland yet believed if she did the right thing, pay her bills, play by the rules, that she could live out her days in the place she loved. A home that for generations has been a part of her family’s legacy.
However, Dorothy is now faced with losing her home because of predatory lenders and real estate developers with histories of criminal activity .
Dorothy endured the confusing transfers of her mortgage to three different banks, the ballooning payments unexpectedly from one month to the next, and made sure to never miss a payment, sometimes doubling up those payments despite being on a low fixed-income. But it wasn’t enough. In 2016, Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed on Dorothy's house without giving her adequate notice. She later learned that her mortgage was a "pick and pay" loan. These loans have been ruled predatory and a likely illegal practice. The home was put up for auction and purchased by Community Fund LLC , a real estate developer, who then harassed and intimidated Dorothy to leave her house. Strangers knocked on her door at all hours of the day, ordered surveillance of her movements, and posted illegal eviction notices to scare her. Finally, on March 8th, 2017, Dorothy was evicted from her longtime home .
But Dorothy fought back .
With the support of her family, neighbors, other Oakland families experiencing foreclosure, and community organizers, Dorothy has made an extraordinary comeback, recently winning court victories that stopped her eviction, allowed her to stay in her home, and gave her the opportunity to re-purchase her home .
But Dorothy's struggle continues. She can use your generous hand up as she faces the financial challenges of re-purchasing her home and paying tens of thousands of dollars in fees to the same predatory lenders and landlords that abused her in the first place. Dorothy is both in a fight to demand accountability and in the immediate battle of holding on to her family home. Dorothy has not backed down. She refuses to be pushed around and is fighting hard to protect her legacy.
Dorothy needs your help to raise $10,000. Your support will not only help Dorothy, but help hundreds of other African-American families in Oakland being exploited by banks and developers, and who look to Dorothy's fighting example for hope.
- Sheila Hayes
- Marsha Williams
- Leigh Poggio
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