Sometimes close isn’t close enough. A Syracuse man's home was foreclosed on even after he paid back $9,877 in property taxes. His home taken because he had $936 left on his tax bill. The man, Calvin James, went to pay off the remaining $936 on December 6th only to be told his house was formally foreclosed on December 4th.
“I tried so hard,” James said. “I tried so hard to make these payments.”
James looks to be the latest to lose his home in an aggressive foreclosure campaign by the city of Syracuse. Officials launched the campaign in hopes of repossessing and selling some of the many rundown homes that litter the city.
Before the city closes on a home, they make every effort to help the owner keep their house. Foreclosure counselors and regularly scheduled home finance workshops are staples of the city’s program.
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Paul Driscoll, commissioner of neighborhood and business development in Syracuse, told the Syracuse Post-Standard that James was given every opportunity to save his home.
“This guy was given all the proper notifications and just came up short," Driscoll said. "It's not something that I think that we’re going to request the land bank to return."
James, 61, is a retired bus mechanic. He moved to Brooklyn from Guyana thirty years ago. He then moved to Syracuse several years ago after learning of the upstate town’s cheap real estate market.
“I tried so hard,” he said. “I mean, that’s all my retirement money.”
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Driscoll told the Post-Standard that if James had only told officials he was coming to pay off the remainder of his tax bill on December 6th, they would have held the house for him.