Great-grandmother vows to return to foreclosed home

December 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A 75-year old great-grandmother in San Francisco is vowing to break back into her foreclosed home. Josephine Tolbert was locked out of her house Wednesday. Thursday, friends, supporters, and community activists gathered at her home demanding she be let back in.

A crowd of several dozen stood outside the locked gates of the house where Tolbert lived for nearly four decades. They heard her tell how she came home Wednesday afternoon to find men changing the locks.

"And I said, 'Well you got to let me in to get the diapers and I'm a diabetic and I need my medication,' and they said you can't go in there," Tolbert said.

Tolbert was locked out with her clothes without her medication with three small children she was looking after

"A baby which was six months old had one that was three years old and one that was four years old," Tolbert said.

Her supporters were incensed.

"We will not tolerate this depravation on our streets," one said.

What they didn't hear was that Tolbert hadn't made payments on the house in nearly three years and that she was given an eviction notice three months ago. Additionally, last night the new owners opened the house to her granddaughter to go in and collected clothes and whatever she needed and offered $200.

The crowd went to the offices of the investment company and pounded on the door demanding the company owner give Tolbert the keys to the house she used to own.

But the investment company isn't the company that loaned Tolbert $215,000 in 2007. That was Bank of America, and when Tolbert got colon cancer and needed surgery she didn't have the money to keep making the payments.

"Every two or three months they would say, 'We're going to get you into another program,' and that program didn't work and this went on for a space of two years, of course that made the interest go up," Tolbert said.

And the interest rate was 11.5 percent.

In a statement to ABC7, the bank says it since 2008 it attempted to help Tolbert when she first began facing financial hardship. During the past four years the bank says it worked hard to review her several times for home retention solutions but unfortunately she did not qualify. Bank of America went on to say a customer in foreclosure would need to contact the bank to set up a formal repayment plan.

Tolbert says she's committed to getting back into her house. The police say that would be illegal and would be inviting more trouble.

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