We have been compelled by the Holy Spirit to continue to share the details of this testimony. For out of our moment of affliction, God has ordained and called forth the need for change. We still find it very challenging and difficult to articulate some of the details of these chapters, because for the last 4 ½ years some of the details within these chapters have been very challenging for us both.
(To Recap) Kaye
After having returned home from mandatory evacuations, our house had still been without electricity – and had been for a while – due to Hurricane Irma, and we also found that damage had occurred to the back of our home where the sunroom exists.
In small talk one day in a telephone call, one of the representatives of our mortgage company chatted about the recent storm as I asked them about the details needed to set up automatic mortgage payments. I’d mentioned the disaster effects of the storm and lightly mentioned our findings when we had returned from evacuation. They mentioned a program intended to safeguard homeowners as they took care of costs incurred from these types of disaster situations and further asked if I wanted to be passed to the department that handled such. I hesitated, then accepted their suggestion. Although we had already paid the coming month’s mortgage early, the mortgage company’s program applied the natural disaster protection and began sending paperwork to confirm and setup such safeguards.
At the culmination of the natural disaster protection, an additional contractual agreement (in our case, a subordinate mortgage) was to be setup and executed by the mortgage company to ensure that the safeguards were correctly put in place. This agreement lays out and identifies the responsibilities of the mortgage company and the customer, i.e., the mortgagee and the mortgager, thus holding and binding the two to the terms within. We honored our part in principle and in payments, but our mortgage company did not. This set in motion an endless cycle that would lead to many grave injustices.
For the past 3-4 years, we have had to battle against our mortgage lenders in their pre-foreclosure and foreclosure attempts. In their failure to correctly process, address, and apply payments and paperwork, they attempted to unjustly take what did not rightfully belong to them.
As a young man, I can remember sitting in a Denny’s in South Tampa one evening late into the night. As the clock drew closer to midnight, some patrons became hostile toward the wait staff and the chef. They called them names and even threatened to become physically violent with them. And where most people would draw away to avoid the conflict, feeling that it was none of their business, my mom stood up, intervened, and made it hers. As the chef made his way out of the kitchen to defend himself and the wait staff, my mom took up her cane and made her way to a position beside him. You see, my mom was just that type of a person. She advocated and was willing to go to battle on behalf of people. She cared deeply for them, and her love was truly sincere. She was a passionate, brave, and courageous woman, one whose legacy and impact will still be felt for generations to come. You see, she taught us how to fight, and she taught us how to stand up for people and fight against injustice. She wasn’t a violent woman, but she wasn’t a pushover either. I admire her courage, and I admire her fearlessness, even in death. I myself have become an advocate, and I, too, have learned to fight against injustice. You see, in moments of adversities, advocates can be born, and the details of their experiences can drive and motivate their passion. Kaye and I have both become advocates through this process. We have always been community servants and advocates, but we have gained a new group to advocate for. Tonight, we just want to share a few pointers that may be helpful to you in your homebuying and homeownership process. You don’t have to take these things to heart; they are only suggestions. But they might help you, should you encounter something similar to what we have had to face.
- Know that it’s OK to hire a lawyer – for real estate and etcetera.
- Follow a consistent standard of making payments to your mortgage company. Official cashier’s checks from your bank will create an efficient system of checks and balances.
- Keep all of your records and receipts – every payment and document pertaining to your contractual agreement.
- Be persistent in your fight, because in doing so, you create records and documents of evidence to support your cause. No receipt and no dollar amount is too small to keep record of. If you spend it, keep your receipt – digitally, paper, or electronically.
- Take notes and employee identification numbers when speaking with representatives. Don’t only rely on their system of record-keeping that states that the call is being recorded for quality assurance purposes.
- Know that you don’t have to fight alone, and that God will be present the entire way through. We prayed and asked God to lead us to our lawyers, and they have truly been a blessing to us. Know this, that sometimes the blessing is in the help. It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help; in fact, you might find a greater strength in doing so. Be fearless in your efforts, and be persistent in your pursuit of justice.
My wife is an avid record-keeper. No receipt is too small, and no document is considered insignificant. She is a knowledgeable and very intelligent woman, one who carries the virtues and qualities of a noble wife. Our lawyers didn’t have to wait to request documents from our mortgage companies, because she already had them – every payment, every letter, and every detail necessary to prove our cause.
I never got to share with my mom the fulfilled promise that God made to us; but I thank God for her instilling and investing into her sons the ability to advocate and fight for justice. She was a brave and courageous woman, one who did not know violence but was willing to stand up for herself and others.
My husband has always been very disciplined in orchestrating business matters and has equally made discipline a personal practice within his life. This level of discipline and good character matters in your pursuit. My husband always maintained the importance of good communication. This level of persistence as a team strengthened our position.
It’s still challenging for us to even think about it, and it’s still challenging for us to even talk about it because we never imagined that we would experience such a grave injustice.
But, my wife and I plan to advocate and pursue legislation – and do everything within our power to keep this type of matter from happening to anyone else again.
I would also like to speak to those who may have experienced a foreclosure or an eviction. No one should ever make you feel less than or guilty because you encountered circumstances that may have been beyond your control. Your family matters, and the memories that you made within your home matters, too. I would like to encourage those who buy foreclosure properties to consider those who own the property that you are interested in, because behind the front door is a family. Now, consider your family and how that might make you feel. If you happen to be blessed with an opportunity to buy any such property, I would like to encourage you to do something to honor that family’s memory and the time that they spent there. I know Kaye and I will – and one of the ways we plan to do this is to simply plant a flower or plant on the property as an acknowledgement that they were there.
God will bring about justice when injustice takes place within your life. Don’t be weary, and don’t give up, because one day things will get better. We would like to speak better over you, and we prophesy to your circumstance. Every wrong will be made right, and every injustice will be conquered. You will know victory, and your adversaries will know defeat. May you be empowered to conquer and overcome, and may you know victory, in the mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!
We bid you all blessings and favor, and we thank you for listening. We truly pray and hope that our words may help someone in their journey along the way.
From Two Hearts as One, Seneca and Kaye Howard ❤