Laying on the bed with his eyes closed, Mr. Alfred C. Parker, 76, is resting comfortably. A U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Parker is spending this day reminiscing about his years in the Armed Services.
Mr. Parker was stationed in Europe and throughout the U.S. during the 1950s, before finally making Mobile his current home.
"I was stationed in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, El Paso, Texas - where I ran the message center," Parker said. "An aide wanted me to go to Paris to be a part of the Southern European Task Force. I was homesick so I passed up the opportunity, which I regret."
As with so many other veterans who've returned home, Parker, whose only income is Social Security, is living below the poverty line. According to recent research from the Department of Veterans Affairs, poverty rates for veterans increased by 8.7 percent between 2005 and 2012, and are still rising.
Mr. Parker, who almost lost his home to foreclosure earlier this year, took out a home equity loan for home repairs. Unable to make payments toward his loan because of personal sickness, Parker turned to Legal Services Alabama for solutions.
LSA's Ann Brown, Managing Attorney, and Sherri Thomas, Staff Attorney in the Mobile office, came to Parker's aid. Ms. Thomas was able to drive Mr. Parker to a private bankruptcy attorney, who filed a bankruptcy on Mr. Parker's behalf to stop the foreclosure sale. Ms. Thomas then applied for a loan modification on Parker's behalf. Mr. Parker's loan modification application was approved. He completed his Trial Payment Plan, which reduced his mortgage payments. He is now current on his payments and able to continue to reside in the house left to him by his parents.
For Thomas, helping Parker to live out his remaining days on his terms, was extremely important.
"Mr. Parker was in his late 70s and did not have any family members to offer him any financial assistance," Thomas said. "Mr. Parker suffers from several medical ailments that prevent him from being mobile, and is sometimes bedridden for days. Mr. Parker told me that he wanted to live the rest of his life in his home instead of a nursing home. It was my goal to be able to accomplish that for him so that he could live the rest of his life in the comfort of his own home."
These days, Parker can rest without worries or fear of homelessness.
"Everyone needs a place to lay their head," Parker said. "It's nice to have somewhere to lay your head down. It's nice to not have to move."