By Ken A. Epstein
Tosha Alberty, holding back the tears, stood in front of her West Oakland house Tuesday, explaining how she, her children and grandchildren had been evicted that morning from their home by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.
“I’m here, standing by the grace of God, doing all I can to keep this home,” said Alberty, who was born and raised in West Oakland and had bought the home at the corner of 10th and Willow streets in 2005.
“Who are they helping with all the (bank bailout) money?” she asked. ”I need the money. I’m a worker, and I’m trying to raise my children.”
The sheriffs had forced their way into the home at 8 a.m. while Alberty was at work. The children were moved out onto the street, with many of their possessions still inside the home. The locks were changed and the windows boarded up.
She has the organized backing of Oakland ACORN, as well as help from the office of County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks and Nancy Nadel.
At the time of this week’s eviction, with the backing of ACORN she had headed off two previous eviction attempts, and she was under the assumption that negotiations with the bank were still under way.
When Alberty originally purchased the home, she paid $550,000 and had monthly payments of $3,800. Though she was unemployed at the time, a real estate broker arranged a loan and told her that she would be able to refinance in six months, she said.
The family struggled to make their payments. Alberty found a good job – as a union employee working for the county – where she continues to work today. For two years, despite how high the payments were, she paid her mortgage on time and never missed a payment.
Then her payments went up about $1,000 a month more, and she and her family could no longer pay. The mortgage went into default. For months Alberty called the bank to ask for help but was told there was nothing they could do, she said.
Alberty was joined Tuesday afternoon by supporters, including Oakland ACORN and her relatives.
“Tosha is a hard worker. She has good principles. I raised my children good, and she raised her children good,” said Tosha’s father, Charles Alberty, who is a pastor.
“My sister is a victim of fraudulent activities of the bank lenders. These fraudulent lenders should be held accountable,” said Alberty’s brother David Goudeau.