Azusa family wins historic fight to buy foreclosed home

AZUSA, Calif. (KABC) -- Juana and Jaime Coronel of Azusa are very thankful they have a roof over their head this Thanksgiving.

"My kids grow up in this house, all my sons grow up here," Juana said. "I've got a lot of memories and my brother and sister live here too, and my son, everybody -- that's why I don't want to move."

For four years, the Coronels fought the foreclosure of their home. They've lived in Azusa for 25 years, but like many others, they fell on tough times and fell behind on their mortgage. Jaime suffered a stroke, so he's now on a fixed income.

Fannie Mae issued a foreclosure notice in 2010, but agreed to rent the house to the Coronels. Then last year, Fannie Mae told the Coronels they wanted to sell. That's when a group called The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) stepped in. The group speaks out for low income, immigrant and working families across California, the website states.

ACCE helped the Coronels work out what's called a principal reduction home loan, allowing them to buy their home back at the current market value. The Coronels, according to ACCE, have now become the first homeowners in the country to repurchase their former property at current market value.

"This is the most fiscally responsible way to work with homeowners, like the Coronels, who clearly have the documented income to afford their house, and they're going to pay the same price as anyone else that's going to buy it," said Peter Kuhns, ACCE's Los Angeles co-director.

In order to be allowed to buy back the home, Jaime and Juana led an intense advocacy campaign that involved mobilizing other homeowners and community members, religious leaders and community groups, and even enlisting the support of their state legislators.

Juana says it wasn't worth becoming an American citizen if her house was going to be taken away from her. She says this is where she wants to spend the rest of her days until the good Lord calls her up.

After four years of limbo, an Azusa family signed a historic agreement to buy back their home after losing it to a federal lender during the recession.



The family held an early Thanksgiving celebration dinner in their front yard Friday, and invited supporters and local community members.

For more information on how you can fight foreclosure, visit http://www.homedefendersleague.org/.




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