Local vet urges changes in Dept of Veterans Affairs rules on foreclosures

SPARROWBUSH – Any day now, DJ Gonzalez will be escorted out of his home, and the doors will be locked behind him.

Gonzalez, a 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran, is on the verge of homelessness, due to a string of circumstances that could befall anyone: divorce, health problems and tight finances.

Disabled and unable to work full time, Gonzalez said Social Security payments weren’t enough to keep the home on Academy Avenue where he has lived since 2005 when he purchased it for $164,900, with a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

As the former manager of the Empowering Port Jervis community center, Gonzalez knows how to help people who have fallen on hard times, he said.

Now, being there himself, he wants to address the holes in the system.

In April 2016, the VA bought Gonzalez’s foreclosed home from the mortgage company for $58,800, according to Jennifer Toth, a loan guarantee officer with the VA.

Gonzalez purchased the home for $164,900 in 2005 – near the height of the housing market – but the 2016 appraisal for the home was $70,000, Toth said.

The VA paid the mortgage company an additional $41,650 because it was responsible for up to 25 percent of the loan, she said.

Read on.

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