SEATTLE — A disabled Vietnam veteran is fighting a battle to save his Seattle home and keep his family together.
Byron Barton nearly lost his life to a stroke and heart attack. He’s confined to a wheel chair and he’s barely able to speak.
Today, he’s about to lose his home to foreclosure.
“It’s really nerve-wracking, not knowing one day to the next whether the Sheriff is going to come throw us out,” his wife Jean said.
Interior designers, the couple lost their jobs in the recession. Their adjustable rate mortgage payments spiked.
The day they’ve feared for months finally came last week - an eviction notice the deputy refused to enforce.
“When he saw Byron’s condition, he said he would not do it because morally it was wrong,” Jean said.
Joined by a dozen activists Wednesday afternoon, the Barton family stood in solidarity with other homeowners facing a similar story.
There are nearly 12,000 homes in Seattle like the Bartons’, delinquent and under water. City officials believe the problem is so bad, they’ve spent six months working to fix it.
In a final report released last week, the inter-departmental team proposed two recommendations.
The first, create a homeowner stabilization program to connect at risk homeowners with housing and legal services. Second, explore a principal reduction/ buyback program with stakeholders to implement and fund it.
The Barton’s are suing their bank for selling their home at auction without proper notification.
If the eviction continues, Byron would live in a nursing home. His family would live with friends.
“It goes to our heart and to our soul,” Jean said.
Synthia Melton, the attorney for Triangle Property Development, sent KING 5 the following statement:
“This is an unfortunate situation for all parties involved. My client, Triangle Property Development, was not involved in any part of the foreclosure process before the sale. The home was purchased at a King County Trustee’s Sale on April 11, 2014. My client is now the legal owner of the property and is entitled to possession. After making several attempts to resolve this matter amicably, which included offers of assistance, we were forced to seek relief from the court. Litigation is ongoing in this matter and we have no further comment at this time. Thank you.”
City council plans to vote next month on an additional $150,000 budgeted to start an aggressive outreach program to help at-risk homeowners.
Washington Homeownership Resource Center website