My God. Between the Wall Street golden parachuting and the tiresome Dance of the House in D.C., between posturing politicians and winking ambition, there is Addie Polk.
(CNN) — A 90-year-old Akron, Ohio, woman who shot herself as sheriff’s deputies tried to evict her from her foreclosed home became a symbol of the nation’s home mortgage crisis Friday.
Fannie Mae foreclosed on the Akron, Ohio, home of Addie Polk, 90, after acquiring the mortgage in 2007.
Addie Polk is being treated at Akron General Medical Center after shooting herself at least twice in the upper body Wednesday afternoon, her city councilman said. U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, mentioned Polk on the House floor Friday during debate over the latest economic rescue proposal.
“This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world,” Kucinich said after telling her story. “This bill fails to address the fact that millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure, are facing the loss of their home. This bill will take care of Wall Street, and the market may go up for a few days, but democracy is going downhill.”
Neighbor Robert Dillon used a ladder to enter a second-story window of Polk’s home after he and the deputies heard bangs inside, Dillon told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I just thought she may have fell or couldn’t get up or something,” he told WEWS. “I didn’t know [she had shot herself] until I got in there. And even when I got there, she was breathing, but she wasn’t saying anything to me. I knew she needed help then.”
Dillon said he saw blood when he put his hand on Polk’s shoulder.
“There’s a lot of people like Miss Polk right now. That’s the sad thing about it,” said Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville, who had met Polk before and rushed to the scene when contacted by police. “They might not be as old as her, some could be as old as her. This is just a major problem.”
In 2004, Polk took out a 30-year, 6.375 percent mortgage for $45,620 with a Countrywide Home Loan office in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The same day, she also took out an $11,380 line of credit.
Over the next couple of years Polk missed payments on the 101-year-old home and in 2007 Fannie Mae assumed the mortgage and later filed for foreclosure.
Deputies had tried to serve Polk’s eviction notice more than 30 times before Wednesday’s incident, Sommerville said. She never came to the door, but the notes the deputies left would always disappear, so they knew she was inside and ambulatory, he said.
A recent Akron City Council study identified a number of lenders whose practices it deemed predatory.
“I get a lot of calls about this predatory lending where people are elderly and they’re probably living on a fixed income and they get somebody to give them some money,” Sommerville said. “Then they get in a situation where if they miss a payment they lose their house. I don’t think people quite understand what happens.”
The city is creating programs to help people keep their homes, he said. “But what do you do when there’s just so many people out there and the economy is in the shape that it’s in?”
Many businesses and individuals have called since Wednesday offering to help Polk,
“We’re going to do an evaluation to see what’s best for her,” he said. “If she’s strong enough and can go home, I think we should work with her to where she goes back home. If not, we need to find another place for her to live where she won’t have to worry about this ever again.”
He said that by the time people call for help with an impending foreclosure, it’s
usually too late.
“I’m glad it’s not too late for Miss Polk, because she could have taken her life,” Sommerville said. “Miss Polk will probably end up on her feet. But I’m not sure if anybody else will.”
I’m ashamed of us. One of these suave and semi-suave candidates had better do something for Addie and those like her, and be damn quick about it. And sincere. Fix it on the quiet and don’t use her as a campaign commercial. Just save her because it’s the right thing to do when our moral compasses have forgotten true north. Let Addie Polk finish her life in dignity.
UPDATE! Just found this (10/4) on CNN.com…
I’m sending Mrs. Polk some flowers right now.