What a shame: Addie Polk of Akron, Ohio has instantly become a devastating symbol of the nation’s economic and housing crisis – and not in the most heroic way, either. When Sheriffs attempted to evict her from her home after it was foreclosed, Polk, who is 90 years old, shot herself twice in the upper body and had to be taken to the hospital. You know the economy is very, very bad when a woman who has lived that long and has undoubtedly endured so much would attempt suicide. As a result of the attempt, Fannie Mae decided to sign the property over to Polk without bells and whistles. Excellent choice, Fannie.

Addie Polk’s neighbor, 62-year-old Robert Dillon, used a ladder to get into the second floor of her house after he and the deputies heard the gunshots explode from inside the house. Dillon said, “I was calling her name as I went in, and she wasn’t responding.” He went on to mention that she was still breathing so he ran to let the Sheriffs into the house.

Polk and her husband purchased the 101-year-old home in 1970 and, in 2004, took out a 30-year, 6.375 percent mortgage for $45,620 (taking an additional $11,380 line of credit the same day). After missing payments these past four years, Fannie Mae decided to foreclose the home leading up to the events that had recently taken place and retracting their decision to take action against her.

I once worked in the claims department of the now-government-operated IndyMac Federal Bank. My department was focused on recovering losses from mortgage insurance companies whenever a home was foreclosed. The saddest part of the job was receiving letters from women like Addie Polk – widowed and often alone with little to no support. Many of them had written in on pieces of cardboard, children’s stationary, and other items begging us to reconsider our decision. Naturally, it was out of our hands (my department, anyway) and so I just went on to file those letters away and hope that they could and would be helped somehow.

Regardless of politics and all the silliness of the current Presidential Race, let’s take some time to think about the people who are really hurting here.

[Via CNN]

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