One man's crusade to save his home from foreclosure

May 5, 2011 7:27:27 PM PDT
A Pittsburg family is in a home they can truly call their own. The cloud of foreclosure hanging over their home has moved on after two painful years. 7 On Your Side has been with them throughout much of their journey.

So many families have gone through a similar journey, only this family didn't end up losing their home like so many others. We wanted to know what made the difference.

These are much happier times for Jose and Lucy Vega. We last saw them back in November when they were packing up their belongings, preparing to lose their home to foreclosure. Their struggles nearly tore the couple apart, but they managed to hold it together.

"In the midst of the whole tragedy, there's something really special for us and it is the love that we have for each other," said Jose.

After our story aired, Jose said their lender did something it has yet to explain. Chase bank postponed the foreclosure, not once, but three times.

"They changed the date from November to December, then January, and then they changed it to March the 10th," he said.

Up to that point, the family had repeatedly asked for an affordable loan modification, but were denied. However, Jose continued to fight. He not only fought for his home, but his neighbors homes, too. He spoke at public hearings, rallies, and even at a Chase shareholder meeting and got CEO Jamie Dimon to promise to meet with him. It was a promise Dimon would never keep.

Jose's 10-year-old son Roberto began to fear what appeared to be the inevitable.

"He just broke down and all his little friends just kind of gathered around him and started hugging him and giving him that support," said Jose.

Jose persevered. He shared with us video of a gathering to celebrate his new job at the Census Bureau, and he recommitted himself to his wife of 10 years and pledged to renew his wedding vows. Then, two days before the March 10 foreclosure date, he had an awakening.

"Literally, I heard a voice and it said, 'Give it one more try. Do it. You've come so far, don't give up,'" said Jose.

So he sent paperwork in the very next morning requesting a modification -- this time with information about income from his new job. And guess what? He received a call the very next day offering him a modification that he could actually afford. His wife Lucy and his two children are ecstatic.

"Roberto tell me, 'Mom, this is a miracle. God saved something for us," said Lucy.

Adam Kruggel is executive director of the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Organization, a group where Jose has volunteered.

"The difference between Jose and the other people is that Jose continued to fight and rather than suffer privately, he really began to reach out to other people who were in the exact same situation," said Kruggel.

Kruggel says Jose held Chase accountable. Chase declined a request for an interview, but told us by email it is "pleased to provide Mr. Vega a loan modification for his current financial situation."

Jose and Lucy renewed their vows at Golden Hills Church in Brentwood.

"The most important things in my life I cannot buy and they're my family and my Christian beliefs and my spirituality," said Jose.

The attorneys general of the 50 states are investigating banks in connection with the foreclosure crisis. There have been reports that a settlement is being negotiated. We'll keep you posted.

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