Renita is quick to acknowledge the crucial role faith has played in her life.
“I have been through so much, but I have always had faith that God would see me through it. Whenever I faced obstacles, he seemed to put the right people in my path.”
Her strong faith and personal determination helped her persevere when she nearly lost her home.
Renita lived with her elderly mother until her mother passed away. The oldest of five children, Renita was the only sibling at the time without a stable home of her own. Her mother wanted Renita to inherit the home they shared.
“It was important to my mom that I have a place to call my own and my siblings were very supportive.”
Renita diligently took over the mortgage payments of the house, working long hours to ensure she could stay in the home. But when she was contacted by a scam mortgage assistance firm in 2019, the company convinced Renita to send the mortgage payments directly to them. The fraud continued for 6 months, causing Renita to fall behind on her mortgage. After losing her job at the onset of the pandemic and unable to recoup the payments from which she was frauded, Renita’s home entered foreclosure. Renita was unsure of what to do next and was referred to Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.
“From my first phone call with the Advocacy Center, I felt reassured that we would figure out a solution.”
Leah Kane, Consumer Protection Program Senior Attorney, worked with Renita to officially deed the home in Renita’s name and defend against the foreclosure action. The Advocacy Center also helped Renita apply for financial assistance through the COVID-related Housing Assistance Fund (HAF). Once Renita was approved for funding, the Advocacy Center was able to argue in favor of withdrawing the foreclosure case entirely.
“I thank God for the help that was provided and what Leah was able to do. She was so patient and helpful. If I had lost my home, I would have had to move in with my daughter or find somewhere else to live.”
The affordable housing crisis in Charlotte and the surrounding areas would have made finding another place to live difficult. Because Renita’s home has been in her family for nearly 30 years, it is known as a naturally occurring affordable home (NOAH). Ensuring homeowners like Renita can stay in their homes is essential to building a more sustainable community and allowing families to build generational wealth.
Renita’s gratitude for the Advocacy Center is effervescent, but when talking to her, one cannot help but be grateful for her in return. Although she is approaching retirement age, she works 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week, fiercely determined that she will not lose her home.
“I want to move forward. Losing my house would have meant going backward. I’ve worked too hard for that to happen.”