PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The foreclosure crisis is bearing down on a legendary ministry in Providence that is now looking for help, after decades of helping countless others.
There always seems to be music in the basement of the big yellow house on Camp Street, but you have to turn back the clock a bit to really understand what most call Salvation 220.
On just about every Wednesday for the past two decades, some of the best musicians alive jammed for the needy, with the home’s owner leading the way. The free music and fellowship mixed nicely with the coffee, pastry and collection of humanity.
Friends of the ministry say the weekly jam sessions were one of many gifts the late Reverend David Hector gave to his community that included a range of locals from places like public housing high rises and nursing homes, mixed with people who had no homes at all. Others just needed someone to talk to or maybe help with their rent or food bills.
“Everybody who understands,” a pastor said during a jam in 2001. “Put your hand up, and say yeah.”
And the crowd on that long ago Wednesday did just that, a beat before the music started again.
Even without the casual concerts that always ended with a march through the basement to the tune The Preacher, people still come for fellowship.
“Definitely, definitely,” Hector’s widow Betty says. “The house still has the reputation of helping people. So, people will still be at this door, and it’s good.”
The big yellow house has been in the Hector family for more than 40 years, and at one point they owned it outright. But expensive repairs and other issues prompted the family to refinance. When the housing bubble burst, the value plummeted below what they owed. Like thousands of others, they fell behind, and looked for help from their bank.
The love of Betty’s life passed away last year in the middle of the foreclosure battle that just won’t stop.
“It’s really hectic and really tense and very mind boggling. I still don’t understand how they can do all that,” Hector says. “It’s a shame because like I said, we’ve been in this community 44 years. And we’ve helped people and they’ve helped us.”
So far, the effort to restructure their loan with Bank of America and now Nationstar, which records show bought $10.4 billion in loans from the banking giant in 2012, has only made Hector’s pile of paperwork grow.
One document showed the latest proposal that set the amount owed at $537,000, which Hector says is far more than what was borrowed. She believes the total includes unmade payments and interest. Nationstar offered an interest rate that’s a tick under 10 percent, with a monthly payment that balloons to more than $5000 in 2016.
“How can I pay that?” Hector asks, shaking her head.
So, now, as her attorney battles with the bank, her friends are reaching out to the community that the Hectors helped for so long. Betty Hector can’t imagine the alternative; silencing Salvation 220 forever, and shuttering the big yellow house.
“No, no, I can’t. It’s like losing a part of myself,” she says. “But I have faith, to say that things will be fine. And I just hold onto that every day.”
Hector’s friends will tell you if his widow had all the money back that he gave to others over the decades, she could pay the debt and still have more to give away again. But she says she has no regrets and loves her husband for his willingness to help others.