Foreclosure crisis hearing to help struggling homeowners

Published: Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:39 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:06 PM EST
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MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - The American dream is now becoming a nightmare for thousands of families in South Carolina. Foreclosure tracking website RealtyTrac estimates more than 20,000 homes currently in foreclosure statewide.

The stacks of foreclosure letters, income statements, and pleas for help have been adding up since May of last year.

"You're pleading for help, but no one hears it. It's devastating. It's devastating," Linda Gibbs said.

Alfred and Linda Gibbs raised four children in their Moncks Corner home, which they bought 28 years ago. They got behind on mortgage payments after both of their work hours were cut back, and they had to care for an elderly family member.

"We are behind with our mortgage. We are facing foreclosure. That's qualification enough to get a modification on our loan I think," Gibbs said.

The threat of foreclosure is something thousands of families statewide are dealing with. State lawmakers are intervening by hosting a foreclosure crisis public hearing.

"I want people out there to know they got help from the federal government through South Carolina general assembly, and they need to get the information to save their homes, to save their families and live a happy life," State Sen. Robert Ford said.

The hearing will give people a chance to tell lawmakers of hardships with their lenders, and inform people of the "SC Help" program, which has $300 million of federal grant money to help families facing foreclosure.

To get by, Alfred, a retiree, and Linda Gibbs work full-time. Mr. Gibbs does janitorial work. Mrs. Gibbs works at a hospital. They were so desperate to get help with payments or get their lender to lower their monthly payments; Mrs. Gibbs made their story public on YouTube.

"We're just hoping and praying that some lawmaker, some official will take it upon themselves to help the underdog, like us," Gibbs said.

State senators are working on new laws to protect people from foreclosure. They hope to get an idea of what homeowners need during foreclosure crisis hearings being held statewide. The Senate banking and Insurance Committee will hold the free Foreclosure Crisis Public Hearing in Charleston Thursday evening. It starts at 5:30 at the International Longshoreman's Hall located at 1142 Morrison Drive. Lawmakers want to hear from any homeowners who are facing or have faced foreclosure. The event is open to the public.

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