From the NY Daily News:
Gloria Knight hasn’t been able to heat her home to a comfortable temperature this winter.
The 64-year-old Brooklyn woman also keeps her modest, three-bedroom house in East New York dark most nights to save on electricity bills – and has even been skipping meals.
“I’m trying to be very economical and stay within my budget,” she said. “But that means a lot of sacrifice.”
On Monday, Knight joined about two dozen homeowners in a protest outside a Washington Mutual bank branch in Manhattan, where many say they took out predatory loans.
They demanded that bank officials meet with them to restructure their loan packages – and they held signs declaring the “Banks Stole Christmas.”
For Knight, a pastor who relies on Social Security for income, this is a new and harsh reality since the interest rate on her mortgage recently ballooned from 9% to 18%.
She is among the thousands of New Yorkers who fear they will be left homeless because of the subprime mess.
As teaser rates are reset monthly, foreclosures in the city – particularly in low-income parts of Queens and Brooklyn – keep rising.
Milagros Munoz, a 46-year-old mother of three from Brooklyn, said she is buckling under the pressure of paying $4,100 a month for two loans on her East New York house.
Munoz said she was initially given low interest rates when her mortgage broker lied on her loan application – stating her monthly income as $14,000 – without her knowledge.
She doesn’t earn anything close to that as a dental assistant.
“I’m on a financial freeze,” Munoz said. “I can’t go anywhere or do anything. When my rate went up, all I kept asking myself was, ‘How am I going to get through today with what I have to pay?'”