Tuesday was one of the dreariest days that Atlanta has had this year. Temperatures plunged to 35 degrees, almost 20 degrees cooler than over the weekend. Yet it was the day that 103-year-old Vinia Hall and her 83-year-old daughter were scheduled to be evicted from the modest home that Hall had lived in for over 53 years.
“I love it. It’s a mansion,” Hall told ABC affiliate WSB-TV.
For the sheriff’s deputies and movers commissioned by JP Morgan Chase, who issued the foreclosure on behalf of Deutsche Bank, to evict the family would have been near-heartless.
“It was a cold, nasty day,” said Tracy Flanagan of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. “When the deputies got there, all they had were names on a paper. You have to use sensitivity and take a second look at it.”
Flanagan said that the family’s age contributed to the decision not to evict but also that the date of the eviction notice was a driving factor. The foreclosure notice was issued in 2008 after Lee’s grandson, Ali Muhammad, who legally owns the house, failed to make regular payments. He took the case to court where the trial court ruled in favor of the bank. Chase issued an eviction notice in 2010 and scheduled the eviction for Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Hall said that she knew about the forthcoming eviction but pleaded for the bank to leave her in peace.
“Please don’t come in and disturb me no more. When I’m gone, you all can come back and do whatever they want to,” Hall told ABC affiliate WSB-TV.
Now, Chase has heeded Hall’s request and is working to make a way that the family can stay in their house.
“We will work out a resolution to keep them in the home,” said Chase spokesman Tom Kelly. He said that Chase did not initially know who the occupants were because the deed is in Muhammad’s name.
Hall’s case brought together a host of community members determined to keep her from being forced out. In addition to the sheriff’s office, community activists and even a Georgia state senator, Vincent Fort, were seeking solutions.
Fort said that he is outraged that Chase would consider kicking out an elderly woman and her daughter. The daughter had to be rushed to the hospital following the attempted eviction after she had difficulty breathing. According to Fort, she is back at home now.
“You can get a bailout for big banks for no bailout for Big Momma?” he asked.
For Hall, who is just weeks shy of her 104 birthday, her prayers for benevolence seemed to have worked.
“No, I knew that they know what they were doing. God don’t let them do wrong,” she said.