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West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure

Submitted by admin on Fri, 07/24/2009 - 4:32pm
West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure Photo: © 2009  Oakland Post/ Gene Hazzard

By Ken A. Epstein

Tosha Alberty, holding back the tears, stood in front of her West Oakland house Tuesday, explaining how she, her chil- dren and grandchildren had been evicted that morning from their home by the Alame- da County Sheriff’s Depart- ment.

“I’m here, standing by the grace of God, doing all I can to keep this home,” said Alber- ty, who was born and raised in West Oakland and had bought the home at the corner of 10th and Willow streets in 2005. “Who are they helping with all the (bank bailout) money?” she asked. ”I need the money. I’m a worker, and I’m trying to raise my children.”

The sheriffs had forced their way into the home at 8 a.m. while Alberty was at work. The children were moved out onto the street, with many of their possessions still inside the home. The locks were changed and the windows boarded up. She has the organized back- ing of Oakland ACORN, as well as help from the offi ce of County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Councilmem- bers Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks and Nancy Nadel.

At the time of this week’s eviction, with the backing of ACORN she had headed off two previous eviction attempts, and she was under the assump- tion that negotiations with the bank were still under way. When Alberty originally purchased the home, she paid $550,000 and had monthly payments of $3,800. Though she was unemployed at the time, a real estate broker ar- ranged a loan and told her that she would be able to refi nance in six months, she said. The family struggled to make their payments. Alberty found a good job – as a union employee working for the county – where she continues to work today. For two years, despite how high the payments were, she paid her mortgage on time and never missed a pay- ment.

Then her payments went up about $1,000 a month more, and she and her family could no longer pay. The mortgage Alberty called the bank to ask for help but was told there was nothing they could do, she said.

Alberty was joined Tuesday afternoon by supporters, in- cluding Oakland ACORN and her relatives.

“Tosha is a hard worker. She has good principles. I raised my children good, and she raised her children good,” said Tosha’s father, Charles Alber- ty, who is a pastor.

“My sister is a victim of fraudulent activities of the bank lenders. These fraudulent lenders should be held account- able,” said Alberty’s brother David Goudeau.