The following was reported on the big city newspaper website the afternoon of July 23rd:
Facing foreclosure, Taunton woman commits suicide
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
TAUNTON -- The housing crunch has caused anguish and anxiety for millions of Americans. For Carlene Balderrama, a 53-year-old wife and mother, the pressure was apparently too much to bear.
Police say that Balderrama shot herself Tuesday afternoon 90 minutes before her foreclosed home on Duffy Drive was scheduled to be sold at auction. Chief Raymond O'Berg said that Balderrama faxed a letter to her mortgage company at 2:30 p.m., telling them that "by the time they foreclosed on the house today she'd be dead."
The mortgage company notified police, who found her body at 3:30 p.m. The auction had been scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Balderrama used her husband's high-powered rifle, O'Berg said.
She left a note for her family saying they should "take the [life] insurance money and pay for the house," O'Berg said.
The law my organization helped to pass back in November of last year makes the deceptive marketing of certain mortgage products and lack of clarity regarding terms and conditions illegal in our state. That means going forward all of these subprime mortgages won't be marketed in our state.
This law does nothing for the woman who killed herself with her husband's gun. It does nothing for the thousands of apartment-renters who are being kicked out by mortgage companies or other companies when the buildings are foreclosed - even though they had been paying their rents on time. This law does nothing for the neighborhoods that are struggling with abandoned houses that become hotbeds of crime, tagged with graffiti, stripped of the copper and other valuable items. There are other bills in the works in our state legislature that probably won't pass before the July 31st deadline (that is next Thursday).
Our federal government has bailed out large financial institutions but done nothing for the real victims of a deregulated mortgage market. Just like our president in the 1920's, Herbert Hoover, who didn't respond to the financial crisis. In his honor, shantytowns were called Hoovervilles.
Maybe we should start calling lines of homeless citizens "Bushlines". Perhaps homeless shelters should be renamed "Bushelters". If, heaven forbid, shantytowns start to appear maybe we should call them "Bushvilles".
Too bad they aren't available for Mrs. Carlene Balderrama. She gave up.