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Former owner will make way for another family

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

Surrounded by pictures of happy Habitat for Humanity families posing by their new homes, Anna Wilson’s family, friends and her pro bono attorney, Dan Stacy, gathered in a corner of the nonprofit’s conference room.

Their faces were not as happy. They were there for an eviction date.

Habitat evicted Wilson because she no longer held the title to her Grate Drive home. She lost it when she missed nine monthly mortgage payments and didn’t uphold her part of a forbearance agreement, Habitat officials told the magistrate when they took her to court.

The board of directors met Dec. 17, spoke in executive session with Wilson, and set the date: Jan. 16.

Kim Fox, Habitat’s board chair, said the board chose to evict Wilson because they are not landlords. If they acted like a landlord in Wilson’s case, they would set the wrong precedent, she said.

With 71 other families submitting home applications, 14 of whom have completed their sweat equity hours, the board also decided to not accept more applications for six months.

Before Habitat took Wilson to court, she signed the forbearance in lieu of foreclosure agreement promising to attend financial counseling classes and work on a budget, follow up with Habitat and pay her mortgage on time or Habitat would take her title rather than foreclose.

When she didn’t fulfill her obligations, Habitat foreclosed on the property and sent her an eviction notice.

However, Wilson didn’t move out, so Habitat went to court.

Rather than make a decision in court, Magistrate Dan Furr said he would rule on the case after Habitat’s board of directors set an eviction date.

Wilson was not present when the board voted. She left the offices a third of the way through the 90-minute executive session with her family, friends from Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, and two former Habitat family helpers.

They did not comment on the proceedings.

Fox said it would be unfair to allow Wilson to stay in a home she wasn’t able to pay for since Habitat has 14 families who can pay mortgages.

“If we can’t offer help because we don’t understand the situation, or we offer help, and they don’t take the help, then we have to look at other families,” Fox said.

Wilson supporters said they were disappointed.

“We’re saddened by how things turned out, but we still press on,” Johnny Ford said. “We’re still in her corner.”

Wilson said she will move to family land on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Pawleys Island.

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