SAN ANTONIO - She was only 15 when Alicia met Jesus. They would get married and live happily ever after. In the 90s they settled in Poth, Texas -- 35 miles southeast of San Antonio.
“Siempre andabamos juntos...” We were always together recalls Alicia, who mostly speaks Spanish. And together, Alicia and Jesus made a dream come true. They bought a house for $27,900, a small fortune at the time. A USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Rural Development) loan helped secure their dream.
But last March Alicia’s dream home and her husband’s legacy came to an end.
"Me duele mucho..." It’s very painful said a tearful Alicia. I lost my home and it hurts she says.
After months and months of delinquency, the USDA did what any bank would do, foreclosed on the house and asked Alicia to move out.
But how did she get here? The answer is complicated and painful.
To better understand, we have to go back to her childhood. Alicia, seven brothers and seven sisters grew up in South Texas in “la cosecha” -- in the cotton fields. She didn’t have an opportunity to learn how to read and write until she was 15 at her local church.
For more than 50 years her husband Jesus took care of business. But in 2006 a “silent killer” cancer changed everything. Jesus Ramirez lost his life, and soon after Alicia was, too, diagnosed with Cancer. Now she was behind on her house payments, in hospice care, not able to read and write, and no one there to help.
“Pero no fue mi culpa...” It wasn’t my fault... I was in the hospital says Alicia. And claims she didn’t understand what was going on.
“They will send people [from the USDA] here that spoke no Spanish," explains Alicia's nephew Tony Trevino. "So there was a communication barrier there.”
Tony says he didn’t know what was going on until it was too late.
“She had certain people around her that let her down, too. Cause there could have been other people to reach out and notify somebody, other family members. But it didn’t happen, and I just can’t understand why,” says Tony.
But it did happen. In fact, the USDA now owns Alicia’s house. A court could order her eviction any day. But USDA representatives tell us they will treat her with dignity, and are looking into other options. They confirm in a letter to Congressman Henry Cuellar, who at the family request, has contacted the USDA.
What happens next? No one knows. So for now, at 78, not knowing what tomorrow will bring... Alicia looks out her window... As in praying for a miracle. Her only wish -- to live her last days in her own home.
UPDATE: An "Angel" News 4 WOAI has reached out to, and who has asked to remain anonymous for now, is willing to look at Ms. Alicia Ramirez' case, and possibly facilitate the financing the family needs. And there's more. The family who reached out to Congressman Henry Cuellar tells us the USDA will not move with an eviction for now, and they are working some kind of settlement.