Tia's story

Photo of Tia Dingle

Tia Dingle was about to lose her home through no fault of her own. 
As Tia prepared to leave her home one Saturday morning, she was shocked to see a foreclosure notice posted to her front door. The proverbial rug was ripped out from under her. Up to that point, Tia had been “doing everything right.” She worked a steady job. She paid her rent on time. She created a safe, loving home for her young son. But she had no idea that her landlord was losing the property. Within ten days that notice on her door, the bank assumed ownership of the row house. She and her four year old son were about to become homeless.  
At first, Tia did not know where to turn. Then she found the Public Justice Center. By this point, the bank was pressuring her to move out immediately. We filed an emergency motion to stop the eviction. Our efforts helped Tia win a victory in Circuit Court – affording her 90 days to relocate to a new home, as the new laws provide for tenants. The judge’s decision gave Tia the breathing room she needed to carefully choose the next home for her family.  
And, even more importantly, Tia’s case led to changes in how the Circuit Court for Baltimore City interprets and enforces the new laws. The court now routinely denies foreclosure evictions where the foreclosure sale purchaser has failed to show that it complied with the new laws.
Foreclosure is not just another word to us. The Maryland numbers are staggering: foreclosure filings in Maryland rose from only 3,094 in 2006 to 42,446 in 2010, a 1,300% increase in just three years. This nationwide crisis has uprooted the lives of thousands of men, women and children. In fact, forty percent of those being evicted because of foreclosure are renters. 
Every day, we field calls from across the state – from panicked people facing imminent homelessness because their rented house has been foreclosed. Many of them did not know their house was in foreclosure until, like Tia, the bank pressed for their eviction. 
It takes tremendous courage to take a stand during such a stressful and uncertain time. We thank Tia for hers.