Marilynn E. Johnson
XXXX Xxxxx Xx.
Beachwood, OH 44122
Congressman Dennis Kucinich
14400 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
Dear Congressman Kucinich:
My husband, our two young sons, and my mother moved to Beachwood from Massachusetts in August, 2011. We love it here and had hoped to purchase the house that we’re currently renting. Our rent payment is $2400 each month and by purchasing the house, we could cut that payment in half. We had to choose this particular house because it was the only one that was accessible for my mom, who uses a combination of walker and wheelchair to get around.
We figured that getting our first home loan would not be a problem. Our credit scores are both above 800 and we earned more than $100,000 last year. My husband earned his Ph.D two years ago and is now a SAGES professor at Case Western Reserve University: that’s why we moved here. Until recently, I was a self-employed marketing/PR consultant with 15 years of experience, but that has been on the back burner for the past two years. Now, I am employed by my mother to care for her — Mom has Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s Dementia — and she and I have an employment contract to prove to Medicaid that the money she pays me is not a gift. I have been a full-time caregiver to my mother since September of 2010, though our employment contract was signed in May, 2011.
We applied for a loan through Huntington Bank and after a month of back-and-forth, we learned today that our application was denied. Apparently, my “length of employment,” “uncertain/flucutating income,” and “unacceptable source of funds” (the down-payment amount has been in our bank account for fewer than 60 days) were all problems as far as the underwriters were concerned. The biggest thing they “couldn’t get their heads around,” per Huntington Bank Loan Officer Wade Hampton, was that I am a daughter/POA for my mother, who is my employer, though I can legally hire people to watch my mother. (Which I have done for about 10-20 hours/week, because if you’ve ever cared for someone with dementia, you know you need some time to yourself to go to the gym to burn off the stress of caring 7/24/365 for someone with dementia. I even sleep with the baby monitor on — not for my kids, but for her.)
The disapproval of our home loan application is so wrong on so many levels. The bank believes that we’d be a better credit risk if I put Mom in a home. Family is important to me (if not to the bank). So long as I can safely care for her at home, that’s what I’m going to do. In these terrifying economic times, we have improved our credit scores and our bottom line. Uncertain income? Who hasn’t been laid off at least once in the past three years? Well, we haven’t.
Without a home loan to pay for a wheelchair-accessible house, thereby halving our monthly housing bill, we are going to have to put Mom in a dementia unit, thereby splitting up our family and putting me on the unemployment rolls, which will also force us to move and take our children out of their beloved schools because we cannot afford a $2400 rent payment on one income. My mother’s relationship with her grandchildren and the stability of our home have been the only bright spots for her these past two years. I never expected that choosing to care for my mom would plunge us into a Dickensian lifestyle, but that is what we’re facing. Please, if there is anything you can do, please help us keep our family together.