Jocelyne Voltaire of Queens Village is the face of the housing crisis in America: she's facing foreclosure—again—on the home she has owned for over 20 years. A victim of predatory lending, Voltaire, 50, made headlines in 2008 when it was first reported that she might lose her home. A grassroots effort initiated by Code PINK and the generosity of strangers staved off foreclosure then, but just three years later Voltaire finds herself with even higher monthly payments.
Working three jobs to save for the fifty percent down payment, she says she bought her home in 1987, putting down $80,000. Speaking through tears at yesterday's Occupy Wall Street foreclosure tour in East New York, Voltaire said, "I used to pay two or three months mortgage before I went on vacation. I used to pay $1,500 and they switched me from bank to bank until the payment was $3,800 per month. How will I pay that? How many families suffer like me?"
Voltaire fell behind in payments on her home in part because she lost the support of her son, Robert Force Cyprien, an Iraq war veteran she says was killed in January 2008. "My son spent four years in Kuwait. Then four years in Iraq. Now my son is dead," she said yesterday, struggling to maintain her composure. An American citizen born in Haiti, Voltaire graduated from college, and later refinanced her home to pay for her son's college education following his own graduation from Francis Lewis High School in Queens. "I did everything I was supposed to do," she said, "and now they want to move me out of my home."