Rags to riches and back

From the Staten Island Advance:

Dream House to debt nightmare

Helen Rice-Lyles was staying at a homeless shelter in Queens when she got a call from a broker who told her he could help her buy a house on Staten Island.

She had been looking for an apartment when she got the call telling her she could buy a house, notwithstanding her bad credit, with no money down and help from the government.

“It sounded so good. I always wanted to be in a house,” said Ms. Rice-Lyles, whose case may represent one of the most extreme examples of mortgage mania and problem lending in the subprime market.

The Queens-based real estate office shuttled her to the house, helped her apply for $10,000 in government downpayment assistance and, she said, told her she would have monthly mortgage payments of about $1,990. With $3,200 in monthly Social Security disability and survivor benefits, she believed she could make the payments necessary to buy her very first home for herself and her four children.

What Ms. Rice-Lyles got the day of her closing, according to the Foreclosure Prevention Project in St. George, were two mortgages, a monthly payment of $3,745 and $465,000 in debt along with her new home in Mariners Harbor.

In January, the 45-year-old and her children moved right from the shelter to their home on Brabant Street in a neighborhood where there are lots of signs advertising homes for zero money down. Now she faces foreclosure and homelessness again. A friend who co-signed the loan is also on the hook.

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2 Responses to Rags to riches and back

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  2. otis wildflower says:

    OMG Mariner’s Harbor, right across from a huge NJ tank farm.. That is one sketchy, sketchy area (and this from someone who lived 4 blocks from the Jersey St. projects and Curtis HS)..

    There are a few nice areas on SI north of the expressway (Grymes Hill, Ward Hill, around Silver Lake), Mariner’s Harbor is not one of them..

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