Christmas came a little early this year for an elderly Stock Island woman, who recently found out she can stay in her home for the holidays.
Amada Blanco, 79, received the good news on Nov. 7 that an attorney acting on behalf of Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (LSGMI,), had succeeded in a Key West courtroom, in stopping foreclosure proceedings against her, and the mobile home where she lives. Blanco is frail and suffers from 90 percent hearing loss and diabetes. She doesn't speak English fluently, but through an interpreter expressed satisfaction at the outcome of her case.
"I am happy and relieved," Blanco said. "And I wish everyone happy holidays. We are very grateful to this country."
Blanco came to the Keys from Cuba in 1980. She and her son Eligio Blanco have both since become U.S. citizens. The senior Blanco is too infirm to work, but Eligio used to help his mother with her monthly mortgage payments. That all came to an end when Eligio lost his job.
Blanco began to fall behind with her mortgage payments, and so, sought a loan modification.
While that process was underway, the lender, Bank of New York Mellon, sought to foreclose on Blanco's property. That's when Blanco called Legal Services of Greater Miami.
"LSGMI attorney Annie Hernandez filed a motion to dismiss the foreclosure based on the lender's blatant disregard of the court's orders," the organization said in a press release. "The judge [David Audlin] granted the motion and dismissed the case without prejudice, allowing Blanco to stay in her home."
Hernandez, who has been concentrating on foreclosure cases since February, described the outcome of the case as a "heartwarming holiday story."
"Ms. Blanco was just so happy and grateful to be given a second chance to modify her loan," Hernandez said. "She's a lovely, lovely, very sweet lady. She and her son, and daughter-in-law are over-the-moon happy about this. There's no guarantee that it'll all work out, but for now, at least, she can focus on the modification, without worrying about having to deal with legal proceedings."
Hernandez' sentiments were reciprocated by Blanco.
"They did a very good job for us," Blanco said. "Very professional, and very human. We are so happy with them, and with Annie."
Hernandez also had high praise for Judge Audlin.
"He really took the time to listen to both sides of every case that was before him that day, and there must have been a hundred of them," Hernandez said.