Texana Hollis, a 101-year-old Detroit woman was evicted from her home Sept. 12 after her 65-year-old son failed to pay property taxes linked to a reverse mortgage. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosed on the home, but two days later Ms. Hollis was told she could return home. That was four months ago and now HUD has changed its mind again, telling the woman who has lived in this home for 60 years that it’s not in liveable condition.
Department spokesman Brian Sullivan told The Detroit News that an inspection determined the house “was completely unsuitable for a person to live in.”
“We can’t allow someone to live in that (atmosphere) now that we are essentially the owners of the property,” Sullivan said. “The home isn’t safe; it’s not sanitary. It’s certainly not suitable for anyone to live in, especially not a 101-year-old mother.”
HUD also doesn’t want to pay to fix up the house so Sullivan said the department is seeking other agencies that might help with the work and get Hollis back into her home.
”We’re not giving up,” Sullivan said. “We’re talking with anybody and everybody about solutions to this situation, but the condition of the property is a challenge.”
Sullivan’s words have done little to comfort Ms. Hollis.
“Here I am, 100 years old, and don’t have a home,” she said. “Oh Lord, help me.”
For now, Ms. Hollis has been staying with a former Sunday School student who offered a room in her home when she heard about her friend’s situation. Hollis’s son, on the other hand, appears to have gone MIA after taking out the reverse mortgage for the $32,000 assessed value of the property which makes the story even sadder.
Do you agree with HUD’s decision not to let Texana Hollis move back into her home? Do you think HUD should pay to bring her house up to code?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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