Facing a flood of calls from reporters wanting to know more about her personal housing crisis after the Pioneer Press broke a story this morning about her extended family’s foreclosure, state Sen. Mee Moua faced a dozen reporters and photographers this afternoon at a Capitol news conference.
The story outlined how Moua, her husband and three children had been living with her parents in a large five-bedroom house in St. Paul until this summer, when the house — owned by her parents — ended up in foreclosure.
Moua’s brother and sister own two other homes on the same cul-de-sac, forming a kind of family compound, so her family, and her parents, have been living in those houses since June.
Moua said she and her husband — who was a Realtor but has since found other work — contributed to the mortgage payments and other costs while they lived with her parents, but she would not describe the amount of their contributions. She is not listed on the financial papers related to the foreclosed house; only her parents are.
“[My parents] tried to make it work; the mortgage company wouldn’t modify the loan, so they were forced into foreclosure,” she said. “They loved that house. It was an important part of their lives. But this is hardly unique. We are very fortunate to have the means to deal with this setback. It was hard for us, but less hard because we had so much family support.”
She said her parents were unable to make the payments on their large mortgage on the house — a $640,000 mortgage that eventually rose to $712,000 when delinquent amounts were added.
They’d paid $800,000 for the house in 2005 but saw its value plummet during the recession; it was sold recently by a bank for $379,000.
Moua is not seeking re-election to the state Senate but emphasized that her decision was not related to her family’s housing problems.
“My decision not to run was about my children and their future, and being the right kind of mom for them,” she said.
Moua also criticized the Page One headline in the Pioneer Press that stated her family is homeless. (The headline on the online version of the story was changed during the day to say the family had lost their home.)
“My family and I are not homeless; we’ve never been homeless. There are many people in our state who are homeless and need our help,” she said, noting that more than 9,000 people in Minnesota will not have a place to sleep tonight.