Family Launches Web Site To Save Home From Bank

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Today's homeowners are facing disaster. Ten percent will lose their homes in foreclosure. One family in crisis is taking dramatic steps to do something about it. James and Lori Wittlich have launched the web site as a "social experiment" and a means of saving their home.

Among today's homeowners there is an astonishing statistic; over 1 in 10 home mortgages are in foreclosure. The causes are legitimate: loss of job or because of illness, injury or divorce. The current state of the economy is another, with gas, oil, utility and food prices skyrocketing, breaking family budgets.

One family in Muncy, Pennsylvania is doing something about it. James Wittlich and his wife Lori have launched the web site as a "social experiment" and a means of stopping the foreclosure and impending sheriff's sale of their home.

Wittlich's wife Lori works at Muncy Sam's Club as a cashier, and after WalMart Stores Inc. takes one-third of her paycheck to pay for health insurance, there is little left for their family. The Wittlichs have three children; Lindsey and Chelsea, twin girls age 15 and Jordan, age 18, a student at Kutztown University PA this fall. "It's a good thing he received scholarships, otherwise there's no way we could have afforded his higher education," Wittlich stated.

James Wittlich has worked sporadically the last two years due to serious long-term chronic illnesses, which has left their income and savings depleted. "Nonexistent would be more like it," said Wittlich. "Our doctors half expected me to be dead by now, but I'm still here fighting. We're going down swinging."

Due to James' unemployment, the family fell behind on their mortgage and their bank refused partial payments that would have brought the account current. "The further behind we fell, the more attorneys' fees increased, until it exceeded $23,000.00," Wittlich stated. If it wasn't for generous friends and family we'd be living in our car."

A little-known fact of the home mortgage and banking industry is that many lenders are not required by state or federal governing agencies to accept partial payments or payment plans for those customers who may become in arrears with their loans. "We didn't find out that Saxon Mortgage (our lender) was one of those," lamented Wittlich, "at least not until it was too late. Always read the fine print," he suggested.

Since that time James has applied for Social Security Disability and was turned down initially. "It seems standard procedure for the Social Security Administration is to turn down virtually every applicant the first time around," Wittlich advised. He is appealing. The Wittlichs have also exhausted every avenue with local, state and federal governmental entities for assistance.

Wittlich's philosophy about government assistance is somewhat unique. "I've never asked for help before, so this is strange. Even when our twin girls were born with extreme medical conditions, we bit the bullet and worked our way out of it. Of course, that's when I was able to work."

He went on, "I really feel that individuals and churches, as they feel led to give, are the ones who should step up to the plate in times of trouble. People rely too much on the 'government'. After all, isn't it supposed to be 'we the people'?"

How do the Wittlichs feel about the possibility of losing their home? "It's scary," James said softly, his eyes cast downward. "We worked hard to restore our home and thought this was going to be the place we retired. But, we haven't given up hope."

So why the web site "First," replied Wittlich, "we saw people in the news who had their frivolous credit card bills paid off, bought new Apple Macintosh computers etc. all through the power of the internet and people giving generously. We thought 'why not rescue our home?' so here we are, asking for help from loving and compassionate people."

"Second," he went on to say, "We wanted to raise awareness about the plight of homeowners and are doing this as a social experiment to see if people will give to charitable moral causes, such as we saw with the hurricane Katrina disaster. If they do and we succeed in saving our home, we'll turn this into a non-profit and rebuild the website into an online community, where people suffering like us can get help." is not a non-profit corporation. Media inquiries can be directed to the web site or call Mr. Wittlich at 570-546-3110.


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