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Rochester woman fights eviction -Democrat & Chronicle- September 2, 2015

Rochester woman fights eviction
By: Meaghan M. McDermott
Although Elizabeth McGriff got a much-appreciated reprieve from her pending eviction on Wednesday, she could still be removed any day now from her home on Cedarwood Terrace.

“The number of homeless all across this country is on the rise, and I don’t want to become one of them,” said McGriff on Wednesday as volunteers with the Rochester-based chapter of housing rights group Take Back the Land cheered and chanted on her front lawn. The group had turned out to protest and defend McGriff against her eviction, and to bring more attention to their fight to bring local community control over land and housing.

Take Back the Land’s Ryan Acuff said the group is working with as many as 15 local homeowners in various stages of foreclosure or pending foreclosure, trying to facilitate mortgage modifications or other arrangements that would keep people in their homes. Ultimately, he said, the group would like to see the Rochester area “take a look at the whole picture” and have governments join with other service agencies and groups to find real solutions to address homelessness and the counterproductive crisis of vacant and foreclosed homes.

McGriff purchased the three-bedroom colonial at 618 Cedarwood Terrace back in 2001. She paid $56,550 via a Federal Housing Authority mortgage loan. Her payments were $636 a month, payments she made diligently up until she hit financial troubles during the nation’s economic downturn in the late 2000s. And still, she made payments when she could while she sought a mortgage modification. In total, she estimates, she made more than 13 years of payments totaling nearly $100,000.

Her requests for modifications were denied, and lender MidFirst Bank foreclosed in April 2014. According to bank documents supplied by Take Back the Land, the lender has told McGriff it is preparing to convey the property to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (and collect FHA mortgage insurance on the property). But, the lender offered McGriff the opportunity to buy back the house — assessed at $73,000 — for no less than $129,720.45.

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