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“I felt so desperate about what to do next”

When a 64-year-old Kenyan immigrant named Monica fell on financial hardships after a car accident, her and her family’s livelihoods were threatened when she could no longer afford a predatory home loan. With the help of ICLS, she was able to regain her financial freedom.

Monica immigrated from Kenya in 2002 in search of the American dream. She wanted a better life, and more importantly, a better life for her children. So, for nearly 20 years, Monica worked as a nurse, provided for her household and sent her kids to school.

She faced a number of financial hardships along the way, with the paramount being a $14,000-plus demand from a loan company and debt collector. After losing her home during the recession, Monica purchased a new home for her family years later with a loan from Loan Depot that she needed for the down payment.

A hard worker and dependable mom, Monica made her payments — until she was involved in a severe car accident in March 2019 that left her hospitalized and unable to work. She stopped paying on the loan but told the agency what was going on in her life. 

That didn’t matter to Loan Depot. They threatened to send her to jail if she didn’t pay, which scared Monica so much that she didn’t leave the house for weeks for fear of being arrested.

“I didn’t know what to do, didn’t know who to approach, didn’t know how to pay,” she said.

When the collection law firm threatened to sue, she turned to ICLS’s team of legal experts for help.

With the help of private attorney Hunter Hoestenbach, ICLS was able to get the debt dismissed and secure Monica a $1,000 payout. The co-counsels disputed the loan with the debt collectors and demanded proof, and the case was decided within a few weeks when the firm could not produce any documents supporting their claim.

Monica couldn’t believe it. She said she felt that two guardian angels were sent to help her and that she would be eternally grateful for their help.

“I was expecting to have to pay [the $14,000 debt], but maybe they could give me more time.  But I never knew it was possible [to have the debt dismissed],” she said. “I will never forget what ICLS did for me. … I owe them a lot.”

After sending her daughter to law school and giving her son the tools he needed for success, Monica, who was nearing her retirement, decided to spend the $1,000 on herself – which was a rare occasion. She purchased a new bed and is now able to sleep peacefully at night, no longer plagued by fear of debt collectors.

“There are so many people like me.  What [ICLS] is doing—it’s something so great.”