90-Year-Old Woman Facing Foreclosure Shoots Herself

(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. 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, 62, used a ladder to enter a second-story bathroom window of Polk’s home after he and the deputies heard loud noises inside, Dillon said.

“I was calling her name as I went in, and she wasn’t responding,” he said.

He found her lying on a bed, and he could see she was breathing. He also noticed a long-barreled handgun on the bed, but thought she just had it there for protection. He touched her on the shoulder.

“Then she kind of moved toward me a little and I saw that blood, and I said, ‘Oh, no. Miss Polk musta done shot herself,’ ” Dillon said.

He hurried downstairs and let the deputies in. He said they told him they found Polk’s car keys, pocketbook and life insurance policy laid out neatly where they could be found, suggesting she intended to kill herself.

“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, which she and her late husband purchased in 1970. 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.

The city is creating programs to help people keep their homes, Sommerville 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, Sommerville said.

“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.”

For his part, Dillon hopes his neighbor of 38 years can return to her home.

“She loves that house,” he said. “I hope they can get her back in. That would make me feel better because I don’t know what they’re going to put in there once she leaves.”

He said the neighborhood is declining because so many people have lost their homes.

“There’s a lot of vacant houses around here. … Now I’m going to have a house on my left and a house on my right, vacant,” he said. “That don’t make me feel good, because we were good neighbors, we trusted each other, and we looked out for each other.

“This neighborhood is shot, to me, from what it used to be,” he added.

“When I moved here, if it were like it is now, I would have never moved here. But it was a nice neighborhood….

“I’ll just tough it out. I’m too old to start thinking about buying another house.”

Sommerville 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.”

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8 Responses

  1. Mystech says:

    Take your shots at the bleeding-heart blogger, but this story official “broke” me. If you aren’t moved by this woman’s plight (and that of so many thousands like her), you might want to do a little soul searching.

  2. richard says:

    I think this is a crime case there.

    1. The people who give her the loan are just in for the transaction fee!!.
    2. There are the $$$$ gone????!!!!. That house should have been paid long time ago. In 2004, she took out $50000+ loan for what????

  3. WowFannieMae says:

    Fannie Mae has now forgiven her mortgage, and given her the deed outright! There will be thousands of attempted suicides now. Great job Fannie Mae!! I’m not mocking this woman by any means, but publicly announcing that her debts will be forgiven because she tried to kill herself is going to open a whole new world of fraud. Wonderfully pathetic society that is developing in the US…

  4. Jeff says:

    So they now have forgiven her mortgage. So now all the copy cat’s know that if they can live with some gunshot scars, they can have a free house that was otherwise outside their means. Not the right message..

  5. Moel says:

    Bastard Republicans and their deregulations, and that is putting it mildly! I sincerely hope this woman survives and can return to her home. I know this will not get published, but it should.

  6. Beefsteak says:

    I think we’ve got a solution to the mortgage problem…. all we have to do is shoot ourselves and the banks won’t foreclose on us.

  7. Mystech says:

    A couple things to consider about the “awful precedent” this might set…

    1) Don’t believe for a moment that the forgiving of the loan wasn’t at least motivated on some level a desire on the part of the loaners to address the bad publicity that would result for them when this story got out.

    2) What’s worse? An elderly woman at the end of her means deciding to take her life or a financial culture of incompetence, corruption and greed that is systematically raiding the nation’s finances to forgive their mistakes through obscene amounts of lobbying and fear tactics?

    Finally, need I remind people that at 90 years of age, Addie Polk lived through World War II, the Great Depression and untold civil strife in this country? If she felt that ending her life was her only option at this point, its worth considering just how bad things must have been for her.

  1. November 24, 2008

    […] Cafe Arcane ” Blog Archive ” 90-Year-Old Woman Facing Foreclosure … […]

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