Com­mu­nity help for An­nie

Grand­mother can keep home af­ter fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors step up to help, strangers rally around

Horowhenua Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By SADIE BECKMAN

The Horowhenua grand­mother who stepped in and took over the full-time care of her sick baby grand­son af­ter he was re­moved from his par­ents will now be able to keep her house.

The home was threat­ened with fore­clo­sure af­ter mort­gage ar­rears were in­curred while An­nie* spent months in hos­pi­tal with the baby, who has un­der­gone se­ri­ous heart surg­eries and other com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a trau­matic fam­ily life with par­ents she says are metham­phetamine ad­dicts.

An­nie’s ex-hus­band was also purs­ing a re­la­tion­ship prop­erty set­tle­ment, fur­ther threat­en­ing her own­er­ship of the home she has lived in for nearly three decades.

Af­ter a story by the Horowhenua Chron­i­cle drew na­tional at­ten­tion to the sit­u­a­tion, an out­pour­ing of sup­port and do­na­tions from both the lo­cal com­mu­nity and through­out the coun­try has eased the bur­den for An­nie, who says she is over­whelmed with grat­i­tude to all who have of­fered their help.

The story re­sulted in Kapitibased mort­gage and fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor Or­ange Net­work con­tact­ing her. Owner Richard Banks and ad­vi­sor Johnny Gra­ham made a free, com­pre­hen­sive re­view of An­nie’s sit­u­a­tion, and ar­ranged re­fi­nanc­ing with a new lender, al­low­ing her to keep the house.

Her ex­ist­ing lender, Co­op­er­a­tive Bank, told An­nie they were un­able to help be­yond grant­ing an ex­tra four months’ grace on pay­ment — af­ter be­ing con­tacted by the Chron­i­cle.

Or­ange Net­work also put her in touch with more com­pre­hen­sive le­gal ad­vice, as they were shocked when told of the ad­vice she had re­ceived, which they felt was sub­stan­dard.

An­nie said she could not thank peo­ple enough, and that Richard and Johnny were “amaz­ing”.

“A huge thanks for the love and prayers we’ve re­ceived,” she said. “Peo­ple say­ing just to stick in there — it’s just been amaz­ing. I want to thank ev­ery­one from the bot­tom of my heart. The thought that there are peo­ple out there who gen­uinely love and care, it’s what’s kept me go­ing.”

Do­na­tions have been dropped off at the Chron­i­cle of­fice, in­clud­ing nap­pies, gro­cery vouch­ers, a teddy bear and two hand­made quilts by the Town and Coun­try Quil­ters group of Levin. They made them spe­cially — an adult-sized one for An­nie and a smaller one for the baby.

The gifts would be trea­sured, An­nie said.

Money do­nated to a spe­cial ac­count had paid her util­ity bills, in­clud­ing high power costs for a heat pump she has to use con­tin­u­ously to en­sure the baby stays at a sta­ble tem­per­a­ture.

De­spite the baby be­ing back in hos­pi­tal with stom­ach com­pli­ca­tions due to his feed­ing tube — which An­nie uses to feed him a spe­cial for­mula ev­ery three hours around the clock — she said she felt she could now look ahead with some pos­i­tiv­ity for the first time in a long while. The news she could keep her home felt like a huge bur­den had been lifted.

“I used to love gar­den­ing, but haven’t been able to bring my­self to do it for months be­cause of [the threat of los­ing] the house,” An­nie said. “But to­day I went out­side and planted two lit­tle straw­berry plants.”

(*Name changed to pro­tect iden­tity.)

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