PI Original Ellyn Fortino Thursday December 17th, 2015, 1:29pm

South Side Family Facing Foreclosure Eviction Fighting To Keep Their Home

A Washington Heights family facing foreclosure eviction is pleading for an opportunity to repurchase their longtime home from Fannie Mae while staying in the property.

A Washington Heights family facing eviction from their longtime and now foreclosed home on Chicago's South Side is fighting to keep a roof over their head this holiday season.

Arlene McClendon Richardson, 60, lives with her sister, two brothers and brother-in-law in a brick bungalow at 10008 S. Peoria St.

The home -- purchased by Richardson's late parents in 1966 and now under the control the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae -- fell into foreclosure last year. Family members say they have tried repeatedly to repurchase the home from Fannie Mae, to no avail.

"This process has been traumatizing and stressful to my family, and we are part of this community. We are hardworking and we would like to buy this property at the current real value while staying in the home," Richardson said Wednesday, as tears pooled in her eyes.

"We have the money to buy the home," she stressed.

Richardson and organizers with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, which is helping the family fend off eviction, noted that programs exist allowing foreclosed property owners to remain in their homes while repurchasing the property at fair or current market value.

But Fannie Mae, Richardson said, has refused the family's proposal to repurchase the bungalow for its appraised value of $35,000.

Shirley Henderson with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign said the group has yet to receive "complete" and "direct" information about why the family is not allowed to make such a purchase.

Fannie Mae is seeking to put the home up for sale, Richardson said. In return for the keys to the house, Fannie Mae has offered the family $5,000 plus the first opportunity to repurchase the property once its goes on the market, Richardson said.

The family, however, cannot stay in the property during that process. That's a problem, Richardson said, because the family won't have a place to live in the meantime. Additionally, Richardson said the home would likely be priced much higher than its appraised value, making it unaffordable for the family to repurchase.

Cook County sheriff's deputies, meanwhile, could show up at anytime to evict the family.

"It's my worst nightmare," Richardson said of her family's situation. "I trust in God. So, I believe God will work a miracle for us."

Family members say they were forced into foreclosure after their mother was the target of an alleged reverse mortgage scam several years ago before she died in April 2010.

Since their mother's death, Richardson said she and her relatives have tried to save the home from foreclosure and have sought repeatedly over the past year to buy back the property from Fannie Mae.

"I've been reaching out," she said. "I've been calling and calling and calling."

Requests for comment were not immediately returned by the Chicago law firm representing Fannie Mae in the housing case, Johnson Blumberg & Associates, LLC. 


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