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FromluxurytoabjectpovertyUSbasedGhanaianfamilydrowningindebtcitifmonline

FromluxurytoabjectpovertyUSbasedGhanaian
familydrowningindebt
Wednesday28thJanuary,201511:00am

ComfortBoateng,aresidentofFairwood,siftsthroughmortgageandfinancialdocumentationinthefamilyshome.

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OnacoldSundayafternoon10yearsago,ComfortandKofiBoatengstoodwithComfortsmotherandtheirthree
childrenbeforeaquarteracreparcelinabrandnewsubdivisioninthecenterofPrinceGeorgesCounty.
TheplacewascalledFairwood.TheysteppedontoLot71,anemptystretchofgravel,andclosedtheireyesand
bowedtheirheads.Comfortraisedherhandstothesky.
WesanctifythegroundswiththebloodofJesus,Kofisaid.
ThelandhadoncebeenthesiteofFairview,oneoftheMarylandslargestslaveplantations.NowitwasFairwood,an
1,800homesubdivisionthatwouldsoonbecometherichestneighborhoodintherichestAfricanAmericancountyin
theUnitedStates.
Adecadeago,ComfortandKofiwereattheapexofanastonishingjourneytheyhadmadefromGhanain1997,
whentheyhadwonavisalotterytocometoAmerica.Theydidnotknowitatthetime,buttheywerealsoatthe
midpointintheirodysseyfromAmericanDreamtoAmericanNightmare.
Today,theystruggleundernearly$1millionindebtthattheywillneverbeabletorepayonthe3,292squarefoot,
sixbedroom,redbrickColonialtheyboughtfor$617,055in2005.
TheBoatengshavenotmadeamortgagepaymentin2,322daysmorethansixyearsaccordingtotheirmost
recentmortgagestatement.Theirplightillustrateshowsomeofthepeopleswallowedupbytheeasycrediteraofthe
previousdecadehaveyettoreemergeyearslater.
WhentheymovedintothehouseinNovember2005,Kofiwasearning$82,740asanITconsultantforagovernment
contractor,andComfort,then43,wasmaking$30,000asanadministrativeassistant.Butintheoverheatedmortgage
marketofthetime,theysaideveryonetoldthemthattheycouldbuya$600,000house.
Theymadea$60,000downpaymentandalltheirmortgagepaymentsformorethan2yearsthroughSeptember
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2008.Butthehousewasfinancedwithsubprimeloans,whichresettohigherratesaftershorttimeperiods,creating
whatareknownasshockpayments.TheBoatengssaidtheycouldnotmaketheirnewhigherpayment,and,inthe
middleofthe2008mortgagecrisis,theycouldnotrefinance.
Ithinkthehardestpartwasthebeginning,saidKofi,now55.ItwaswhenIrealizedwereallylostsomething....
Initially,wewerearguing.ButIguessitwasbecausewewereblamingeachotherforamistakewebothmade.
TheycamefromaGhanaianculturewherecreditisscarceandpeoplebuilttheirhouseswithcashandlivedinthem
forgenerations.Deeplyreligious,theyfoundtheirrealestateagentandmortgagebrokerattheirchurch,AgapeLife
MinistriesinLaurel.
Whentheirmoneygottight,theyborrowedmoreandrefinancedtotakeonmoredebt.Caughtupinthemindsetof
thetime,theysaid,theythoughttheywouldbeabletocontinuetorefinance.
KofiandComfortBoateng.
Itwasntthatwedidntmanageourmoney,Comfortsaid.WeknowinAmerica,everyoneowessomething.We
couldntgetthingsdonethewayweexpected.Ithappenstoeverybody.
TheBoatengsarestilllivingintheFairwoodhome.Theyhavenotmadeamortgagepaymentinmorethansixyears.
PrinceGeorgesCountyhadthehighestforeclosurerateofanycountyinMaryland,andFairwood,despiteits
$173,000medianincome,wasthefourthhardesthitneighborhoodinthecounty.
Fiftypercentoftheloansmadetherein2006and2007wentbad,accordingtoananalysisbyTheWashingtonPost.
NearlyonethirdoftheforeclosureswereamongAfricanimmigrantssuchastheBoatengs,eventhoughtheymade
uponly5percentofthecountysblackpopulation.
TheBoatengsopeneduptheirfinancialrecordsandprovidedThePostwithhundredsofpagesofbank,creditand
mortgagedocumentsforreview.Every90dayssinceMay31,2010,theyhavereceivedaletterthreateningto
forecloseontheirhome.
Theyhavebeenabletostayinthehousethroughaconfluenceoffactors:bankswadingthroughaglutof
foreclosures,theslowgearsofthelegalprocess,bureaucraticnegotiationsformortgagemodificationsandan
aversionbylenderstoemptyhomes.
Itsatransientfeeling,almostlikeyoureintransit,Kofisaid.Itskindoflikeyouhavethisfeeling,agriefkindof
thing.Butthenatonepointyoufeelthereshope.Thenanothertime,thefeelingoflosscomesbackagain.
ComfortandKofihadmetasteenagersinthechoiratCalvaryBaptistChurchintheAdabrakaareaofAccra,Ghanas
capitalandlargestcity.In1987,the100memberchoirperformedthroughouttheUnitedStates,includingin
Maryland.
KofistayedinTakomaParkandnoticedalltheforeigncarsToyotas,Volvos,MercedesBenzes,Nissansand
thoughttheareamightbewelcomingtoaforeignerlikehim.
BackinGhana,hegraduatedwithadegreeincomputerscienceattheUniversityofScienceandTechnologyin
Kumasi,whileComfortattendedtheAgenceDorSecretarialSchool,earningtheequivalentofanassociatesdegree.
Theymarriedin1989,whenshewas26andhewas30.Ayearlater,Comfortwaspregnantwiththeirfirstchild.
Seekingbetteropportunities,theyappliedonlineforalotteryadministeredbytheStateDepartmenttoreceiveaU.S.
permanentresidentcard.Itwasalongshot.Annually,lessthan5percentofthe1millionimmigrantsgranted
permanentresidencyentertheUnitedStatesthroughthelottery,accordingtofederaldata.
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ButinJune1996,theylearnedtheyweregoingtotheUnitedStates.KofiboardedaGhanaAirwaysplaneonJuly9,
1997,headedtoMaryland.
HegotajobasanITinstructor.Comfortworkedasanadministrativeassistantprocessingloansatalocalbank,butit
wasalowleveljobthatdidnotrequirehertomastertheintricaciesoflending.
Ididntknowanythingaboutloansandhouses,shesaid.Iwasbasicallydoingthedataentrypartofit.
Thefirstyearthecoupleandtheirtwochildren,6yearoldYaaand2yearoldKwabena,livedatafriendsapartment
inGaithersburg.In1998,theyrentedanapartmentinthatcity.OnMay5,2000,theyboughtathreebedroom
townhousethroughCitiMortgagefor$128,900intheGunnersLakeVillagesubdivisionofGermantown.Theyhad
spenttwoyearssaving$3,000forthedownpayment.Twoyearslater,KofiJr.wasborn.
TheBoatengsbecamecitizensin2003,allowingComfortsmothertogetagreencardandmovein,eliminatingthe
$300weeklychildcarecosts.Butwiththreebedroomsandtwofullbathroomsforsixpeople,theyneededmore
room.
Thankstoaboominghousingmarket,theirtownhousewasworth$355,000.Itwastimetobuyabiggerhome.
Foradviceonneighborhoods,thecoupleturnedtotheir300memberchurch,whereKofidirectedthechoir.Mostof
thecongregationisfromGhanaorNigeria.ThechurchmemberssuggestedPrinceGeorgesCounty.
ThepriceswerefarbetterifyoucompareittothesamethingwedhaveinGaithersburgorGermantown,Kofisaid.
Itshalfofwhatwewouldhavetopay.
FriendsmillaroundoutsidethehouseduringthespecialluncheoninFairwood.
OnatripwiththeirrealestateagenttoseeFairwoodinlate2004,Kofiwasstruckbythetrees,whichremindedhim
oftheonesaroundhiscollegedormitoryinGhana.Ilikedwhattheysaidaboutit,thattheywantedtokeepthe
botanicalfeel,hesaid.
Therewerelongdriveways,newEuropeancars,manicuredlawns,intercomsystemsatfrontdoorsandwooden
decksandfewfences.
FairwoodhaddrawnotherGhanaians,aswellasNigeriansandCameroonianswhowerepartofageneralinfluxof
WestAfricanimmigrantsintotheWashingtonarea,particularlyintoPrinceGeorges.Thecountyhasthesecond
highestrateofAfricanimmigrantspercapitanationwide,behindonlyBaltimoreCounty,accordingtorecentcensus
estimates.
In2005,KofiandComfortmetwithoneofthehomebuildersinFairwood,whichsitsinanunincorporatedareaof
PrinceGeorgesoutsideofBowie,andtheydecidedtobuildahouseforalittlemorethan$600,000.Thiswasmore
housethantheywereexpectingtobuy,buttheybelieveditwouldbeagoodinvestment.Theysaidtheythoughtit
wouldgoupinvalue,liketheirGermantownhouse,andtheycouldusethatequitytofinancetheirchildrenscollege
educations.
Thepurposeofgettingthehousewastogetourkidsthroughcollege,Comfortsaid.
TheirrealestateagenttoldthemtheycouldafforditbyrefinancingthemortgageontheGermantownhousewhich
theyweregoingtokeepandcashingoutthe$60,000inequity.Thatcouldserveasthedownpaymentforthe
Fairwoodhouse.Atthetime,Kofiscreditscorewas748,asuperiorratingthatindicatedthattheyweregoodat
managingtheirdebt.
Workingthroughamortgagebroker,theyappliedforaloan,whichtheyreceivedfromLehmanBrothersBankunder
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Kofisname.Theysaidtheyweretoldthat,basedontheirincome,theycouldqualifyforaninterestonly,adjustable
ratemortgage.Theywouldpayonlytheinterestforthefirstfiveyears,afterwhichtheywouldberequiredtomake
paymentsontheprincipalandinterest.Suchloansareriskier,andborrowersandhavebeenshowntodefaultat
higherratesthanatraditional30yearfixedratemortgage.
TheBoatengsendedupborrowing$493,600fromLehmanBrothers,ataninitialloanrateof6.1percent.Infive
years,itwouldresettoatleast8.3percent.Theirpaymentswouldstartat$3,662andgoupto$4,336.
Idontthinkwereallyunderstoodeverything....Wedidnttakeittoohardthatthiswasgoingtobeaproblem.We
thoughtwedbeabletomanageit.ComfortBoateng
Theythoughttheywouldbeabletorefinancetoabetterrateinthefuture.Inthosedays,refinancingwaseasyto
get,andtheBoatengswentwiththetide.
Idontthinkwereallyunderstoodeverything,Comfortsaid.Itsverydifficulttodealwitheverything,especially
whenyouredealingwiththishugedocumentthatyoudontreallyunderstand.Wedidnttakeittoohardthatthiswas
goingtobeaproblem.Wethoughtwedbeabletomanageit.
WorkersstartedbuildingthehouseinJune2005,andtheclosingwassetforOctober.ButinAugust,Kofiwaslaidoff
afterhiscompanylostitslucrativegovernmentcontractwiththeArmy.Thecompanysaid,Wehavenojobforyou,
Kofisaid.
Now,theBoatengsfacedadilemma.Theirhomewasnearlyfinished,andtheyhadbecomeemotionallyattachedto
it.Theywereworriedtheywouldlosetheir$20,000deposit,andtheywerentevensuretheycouldbackoutofthe
deal.
Atthattime,itsnotlikewewantedtobackout,too,Comfortsaid.Wehadalreadydoneeverythingforthehouse.
TheydidnottellthebankthatKofilosthisjob.
Banksaresupposedtoverifyemploymentandincomepriortoapprovingaloan.Nevertheless,theloanclosed,and
theBoatengsalsoreceivedasecondloantocompletethefinancingthroughtheirbrokerscompany,a30yearfixed
ratemortgageof$61,700at8.5percent.Theypaid$29,000inclosingcostsandputdownatotalof$73,000incash
attheclosing.
OnNov.25,2005,thefamilymovedintotheirnewhomeinFairwood.
WithKofioutofajobandsomuchoftheirmoneysunkintothenewhouse,theBoatengsdidnthaveenoughleftover
tofurnishit.AletterarrivedstatingthattheirfirstpaymentontheFairwoodhousewasdueJan.1,2006.
KofilookedforajobandthecouplesoughtarenterfortheirGermantownhome.Theirpaymentsonthetwohouses
amountedto$5,550eachmonth.
Wewantedtosellit,Comfortsaidofthetownhouse.Butsomechurchmembersalsohaverentalproperties.So
theysaidweshouldnt,thatweshouldrentitout.Andwedidit.
InDecember,theyfoundatenant,whoserentcheckwouldcovertheGermantownmortgage.AndKofiwashiredby
atechcompanyinFairfaxCounty,earning$82,000ayear.
ButFebruaryandMarchcameandwentwithnorentcheck.Soontheywereincourtaskingajudgetoevictthe
tenant,aprocessthattakesmonths.Theycouldntpaytheirrent,Comfortsaid.Wecouldntkickthemout.
KofiwenttoBankofAmericaandtookouta$5,000personalloantocovertheirmortgagesforamonth.Whenthe
casedraggedon,ComfortwenttoBankofAmericaandreceivedapersonalloanfor$10,000.
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Insubsequentmonths,withKofisconsent,shetookouta$20,000personalloanfromFederalCreditUnionin
MontgomeryCountytostartahomebusinesssellingMaryKayproducts.Theloancarrieda15percentinterestrate
overa10yearterm.
Shedidntseetheloanasariskbutasawaytohelpthefamily,andshesaysshebelievedthatshecouldearnupto
$7,000amonthwithMaryKay.
Myintentionwastohelp,sowewereabletomakeourpaymentsandhavesomemoneyaround,Comfortsaid.
Shesaidshequicklyearneddirectorstatusandwasgiventhechoiceofaleasedcar,aPontiacVibe,orthemoneyin
cash,$700amonth.Thefamilydecidedtotakethemoney.
TogrowherMaryKaybusiness,Comfortsaidshetookoutanother$20,000loanfromthesamecreditunion,under
thesameterms,butthistimeshedidnottellKofi.Shewassureshewouldbesuccessful.Butnowshewasjuggling
sellingcosmeticsandrecruitingpeopleforMaryKaywithajobsearchinherownfield.Shefellbehind.Casesof
merchandisesatintheirhome.

Inlate2006,thecoupledecidedtorefinancetheirFairwoodmortgageandconsolidatetheirdebt,includingthe
personalloansandsomeautoandstudentloans.Theymetwithanothermortgagebroker,alsoachurchmember.
Theyeventuallytookouta$620,000refinancingloanfromCountrywideHomeLoans.Itwasalsoaninterestonly
subprimeloan,carryinga6.29percentinterestrateandadjustingintwoyearsinsteadoffive.Theirpaymentonthe
Fairwoodhousewouldrisetoabout$5,230byNovember2008.
Asthebrokerwalkedthemthroughtheircreditreport,Kofilearnedaboutthesecond$20,000loantakenoutby
Comfort.
Iveneverhadmyhusbandsayanythingaboutdivorceuntilthatmoneyissuething,theMaryKaything,Comfort
said.Hesquiet.Sowhenhesextremelyquiet,youknowsomethingiswrong.
Comfortapologizedfornottellinghim,butKofiremainedsilent.
ComfortBoateng,aresidentofFairwood,siftsthroughmortgageandfinancialdocumentationinthefamilyshome.
Inmid2006,thehousingbubblebegantodeflate.Thenextyear,ashomevaluesdroppedandtheprincipalcamedue
onmanyloans,moreandmorepeoplecouldnotpaytheirsubprimemortgages.WallStreethadbeenusingthe
mortgagestocreatesecuritieswithhighreturns,sotheproblemwithsubprimeeventuallyhelpedtouchoffa
worldwidefinancialcrisisin2008.
TheBoatengsheldoutforalongtimeagainstthistide.Theywerenotamongthe1.3millionwhowentinto
foreclosurein2007.Asthecrisisworsenedthefollowingyear,with2.3millionmoreforeclosures,thecouplesaid
theypaidtheirFairwoodmortgageforaslongastheycould.Buttheyknewtheywouldnotbeabletomakeitwhenit
readjustedupwardinNovember2008.
Wedidnothavethemoneyatall,Kofisaid.Weknewtherewasnowaywecouldpay$5,000amonth.
Withthecreditmarketsmeltingdown,theBoatengscouldnotrefinanceorborrowanymoremoney.Morethan2.4
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millionpeopleweredeniedrefinancingloansin2008,accordingtoaPostanalysis.WhentheBoatengsthoughtabout
sellingtheGermantownhome,theylearneditwasprobablyworth$30,000lessthanwhattheyowedonit.Theysaid
theyalsohadsomemedicalbillsthataddedmorethan$4,000incosts.
WhenthecouplesoughtmortgagerelieffromCountrywideinApril2008,theysaidtheyweretoldthatbecausethey
hadnotmissedapaymenttheycouldnotshowahardship.CountrywidewasabsorbedbyBankofAmericainJuly
2008.
TheBoatengsmadetheirlastFairwoodmortgagepaymentonSept.18,2008.
TheyappliedforaloanmodificationthroughBankofAmerica.Thebanksaiditmadesevenattemptstohelpand
modifythemortgagefortheBoatengsbetween2008and2012,offeringthemafixedratemortgagethatwould
increasetheamounttheyowedpermonthtoabout$4,900butstabilizetheirpayments,bankspokeswomanJumana
Bauwenssaid.
TheBoatengssaiditwastoohigh.
Atthattime,wewerepayingcloseto$4,000andwerestruggling,Comfortsaid.Andthatwastoomuchforusto
pay.Anything(about)$3,000wouldhavebeenmanageableforusatthetime.
Atthetime,theBoatengswerealsogettinghelpfromtheMassachusettsbasedNeighborhoodAssistanceCorporation
ofAmerica,anonprofitcounselingagencythatworkedasanintermediarybetweenthebankandtheBoatengs.But
NACAlearnedtheBoatengsownedmorethanoneproperty,whichunderNACAsguidelinesprohibitedthenonprofit
fromworkingonthefamilysbehalftomodifytheirmortgage.
TheBoatengsreceivedtheirfirstnoticeofBankofAmericasintenttoforecloseontheirhomeonMay31,2010.The
mortgagewas606dayspastdue.
Formeasaman,youfeellikeyourefailingeverybodyinyourlife,Kofisaid.Yourchildren,theycomearoundand
think,Oh,ourdadissuccessful.Andyoudontfeelsuccessfulatall.Youfeel,ImworkinghardandIwantusto
succeed,andIwantthekidstoknowthatwhenyouworkhardyousucceed.Butitdoesntlooklikeit.
Aspartofthefinancialrescue,Congressin2009createdtheHomeAffordableModificationProgram(HAMP),which
providedreliefforbeleagueredhomeownersbyallowingthemtomodifythetermsoftheirloans.Workingthrougha
churchmemberwhoownedalawfirm,theBoatengsaskedBankofAmericaforaHAMPmodification.

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ComfortBoateng
OnApril28,2011,theyweretoldtheywerenoteligible.ThebanksaidtheamountofrelieftheBoatengsneededto
achieveanaffordablepaymentexceededthelimitsallowedbyHAMP.
TheirmonthlyloanpaymentsweretogoupagaininNovember2011,risingtoabout$6,000.OnAug.16,2011,the
bankwarnedinaletter:Thiscouldbeasignificantincreaseandresultinaconditionreferredtoaspaymentshock.
Twoweekslater,onAug.31,2011,BankofAmericasentanunsolicitedshortsaleagreementtotheBoatengs,
whichwouldrequirethecoupletoselltheirhome.Thebankofferedthem$3,000toassistwithmovingexpensesand
toldthemtheyhadtoagreetosellbyChristmasDay.
Thebankvaluedthehouseat$378,216.
ComfortandKofisentalettertothebankonDec.16,2011,pleadingforassistance.
Wetrustinyourorganizationtoworkonourbehalfingettingthismortgageissuesettledsowecanavoidforeclosure
andstartmakinganaffordablepayment,theBoatengswrote.
Comfortaskedchurchmembersforhelp.Onegavethem$2,000.
ThecouplesaidsomeonetheydonotrememberwhoreferredthemtotheBrooklynbasedLitvinLawFirm,
whichspecializesinforeclosuredefense.TheBoatengssaidtheystartedpayingLitvin$750monthly.Thiscontinued
fortwoyears,foratotalof$15,000,theysaid.ButthentheygotacallfromanexLitvinemployeewhosaidthe
BoatengsshouldstoppayingbecausethefirmwasnotlicensedtoconductbusinessinMaryland.
AfterLitvin,werealizedwedonthaveanybody,Comfortsaid.
OnNov.18,theLitvinLawFirmsettledacomplaintwiththeMarylandattorneygeneralsofficethatithadcharged
hundredsofconsumerslargefeesbutoftendidnothelpthemavoidforeclosureormodifytheirloans.

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LitvincancontinuetooperateinMarylandbutundermorestrictprocedures.Thecompanyisinnegotiationswiththe
statetodeterminerepaymentforconsumers,saidAssistantAttorneyGeneralLucyCardwell.TheBoatengsmaybe
eligibleforpartofthatrelief,Cardwellsaid.

Friendsandchurchmembers,includingVidaGyimah,AbenaAgyapongandJenniferAdu,fromleft,danceata
memorialluncheonforAgnesAkosuaNipaaAyim,Comfortsmother,attheBoatengshome.
Litvinofficialsdidnotreturncallsforcomment.
Friendsandchurchmembers,includingVidaGyimah,AbenaAgyapongandJenniferAdu,fromleft,danceata
memorialluncheonforAgnesAkosuaNipaaAyim,Comfortsmother,attheBoatengshome.
Duringmuchofthistime,Comfortwasunemployedornotworkingfulltime.InOctober2010,shelosther
administrativeassistantjobatFamilyHealthInternationalinVirginia.Herunemploymentbenefitsranoutaftereight
months.
Beginningin2003,shehadbeenaparttimestudentinhealthcareadministrationatUniversityofMarylandUniversity
College,withagoalofgettingabachelorsdegreeandeventuallyamasters.Tohelppayfortheschooling,shetook
outstudentloans.Shehadearnedtwobachelorsdegrees,oneinhealthcareadministrationin2009andanotherin
organizationalmanagementin2010,butbythetimeshecompletedhermastersinhealthcareadministrationin
2013,thedebthadreached$90,000,includinginterest.
ShesaidshewenttoschoolandtookouttheloansbecauseshethoughtthatwastheAmericanwaytogetaheadand
earnmoreforherfamily.
Inmycountry,theresaproverbthatsaysweusefishtocatchfish,shesaid.Sobeforeyoucancatchthefish,you
havetousethefish.BeforeIcangettothemoneyorlevelwhereIwanttobe,ittakesmoney.

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KofiBoateng
BankofAmericaeventuallysolditsservicingrightstotheBoatengsmortgage,andin2014thingscamefullcircle
whentheloanwassoldtoNationstarMortgage,whichhadtakenoverthemortgageassetsofthebankruptLehman
Brothers.
OnJuly11,NationstarinformedtheBoatengsthatalloftheirlatepaymentsdatingbackto2008werenowdue:
$318,611.97.
NationstarspokesmanJohnHoffmannsaidaforeclosureactionhasnotbeenscheduled,andthecompanycalledthe
Boatengsthismonthtodiscusstheirsituation.
Weregoingtocontinuetoreachout...andfindwaystoworkthingsout,Hoffmannsaid.
With$257,776owedontheGermantownhouse,$969,037owedontheFairwoodhouse,$55,000inpersonalloans
andthestudentloandebt,thecouplewhohadneverownedacreditcardbeforemovingtotheUnitedStatesnow
owemorethan$1.3million.
Theycurrentlyearnabout$100,000ayear.
ThecouplearealsoworkingwithHousingInitiativePartnership,aHUDcertifiedhousingcounselingagency,forhelp
ingettingaloanmodification.Theirhousingcounselor,LeeOliver,saidtheirdownfallbeganwiththeideaofbuyinga
secondhomeformorethan$600,000.Theywerestunnedtheycouldownsomethinglikethat,shesaid.Thenthey
justtookaleapoffaith,shesaid.WhereImfrom,thesehouseswereonlyforwhitepeople.
ComfortsmotherdiedlastJanuary.Comforthadbeenworkingparttimeatatemporaryagencyinthehomehealth
carefieldbutisnowlookingforfulltimework.
Atapoint,IwassofrustratedthatrecentlyIsaid,WhydoIhavetokeepstayinginAmericathen?WhydontIgo
backtomycountryandlookforajobthere?Comfortsaid.
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Throughtheirchurch,theyhadfoundtheirrealestateagent,mortgagebrokeranddreamhouseinFairwood.Andit
allcametogrief.Buttheirchurch,inspiteofitall,isstilltheirrock.
Iguessforus,churchplaysarole,Kofisaid.Thefoundationinourfaith,thatnothinghappensfornothing.A
scripturethatisvery,almostalwaysonourheart,allthetime,is:Allthingsworktogetherforthegoodofthosewho
lovetheLordandarecalledaccordingtohispurpose.Sothatalonekeepsyougoing.
Agrowingdebt
Howonefamilywentfromnodebttoowingmorethan$1million.
*Debtdoesnotincludeinterestorotherfees
July1997
TheBoatengsarrivedintheUnitedStates
DEBT:$0
1999
PurchasedausedToyotaCorollafor$2,000
CARS:$2,000
DEBT:$2,000
May2000
TookoutamortgageonathreebedroomtownhomeinGermantown.
CARS:$2,000
MORTGAGE:$128,900
DEBT:$130,900
2000
PurchasedanewNissanAltimafor$12,000.
CARS:$14,000
MORTGAGE:$128,900
DEBT:$142,900
2003
Comfortbegantotakeoutstudentloans.
20022005
RefinancedtheirGermantownhomeseveraltimestofundimprovementsandtopayoffsomedebt,includingthecars.
MORTGAGE:$128,900
CASHOUTS:$95,000
DEBT:$223,900
July2004
RefinancedtheirGermantownhometoborrow$60,000forthedownpaymentonanewhouseinFairwood,outsideof
Bowie.
CARS:$14,000
MORTGAGE:$128,900
CASHOUTS:$155,000
DEBT:$283,900
November2005
TookouttwoloanstobuythenewhomeinFairwood.
GERMANTOWNMORTGAGE:$128,900
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GERMANTOWNCASHOUTS:$155,000
FAIRWOODMORTGAGES:$554,683
DEBT:$838,583
September2006
RefinancedtoconsolidatethetwoloansonFairwoodhomeandsomedebt.
GERMANTOWNMORTGAGE:$128,900
GERMANTOWNCASHOUTS:$155,000
NEWFAIRWOODMORTGAGE:$612,276
DEBT:$896,176
2006
TookoutpersonalloansaftertheirtenantinGermantownfailedtopayrent.Comfortobtainedtwo$20,000business
loans.
GERMANTOWNMORTGAGE:$128,900
GERMANTOWNCASHOUTS:$155,000
FAIRWOODMORTGAGE:$612,276
PERSONALLOANS:$15,000
BUSINESSLOANS:$40,000
DEBT:$951,176
August2011
BankvaluedthehomeinFairwoodat$378,216.Thiswas$238,839lessthanwhattheypaid.
2013
Comfortcompletedamastersdegreeaftertakingoutroughly$60,000instudentloans.
GERMANTOWNMORTGAGE:$128,900
GERMANTOWNCASHOUTS:$155,000
FAIRWOODMORTGAGE:$612,276
PERSONALLOANS:$15,000
BUSINESSLOANS:$40,000
STUDENTLOANS:$60,000
DEBT:$1,011,176

Source:washingtonpost.com

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