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'Tears Me Apart': 71-Year-Old Woman Fights City To Keep Home

OAK PARK (CBS13) - A Sacramento woman is taking on the City of Sacramento to keep her home.

She's 71 years old but don't underestimate the fight she has left in her. Wanda Clark is taking on the city, determined to keep her home of more than 20 years.  She now has several community activists and organizations rallying behind her, crying foul.

"For something that I worked for for a long time, why should I be homeless?  Why is that fair to me?" Clark told CBS13.

You can see weather-worn wood, boarded-up windows, and even a sign that says it's too dangerous to enter.  But when Clark looks at their Oak Park home, she sees history and hope.

"I see everything I worked for. The dream that most people want is a home," she said.

That dream turned into a nightmare when Wanda took out a loan and paid a contractor more than $30,000 for renovations.  She says he took the money,  never finished the work, and is now deceased.

"They said he didn't have permits...well, I didn't know that. That he didn't have permits. He was over here working," said Clark.

The home, now deemed unlivable and placed in receivership by the City of Sacramento, is now scheduled to be auctioned off in November.

The city says it has worked with Clark for 10 years and sent this statement to CBS13 from Peter Lemos, Code Compliance Chief:

"The City of Sacramento understands and appreciates the sensitivity of this case. City staff have worked with the property owner for more than 10 years to bring the house back to livable standards, waiving thousands of dollars in fees and helping multiple times throughout the process. Unfortunately, the house remains in a dangerous condition both to the property owner and the neighborhood. In additio to the structural issues and presence of toxic mold, the house also became a location for illegal activity. At this phase, the Court has ruled that the house should be put into receivership. Nevertheless, the City remains committed to continuing its work to help secure a positive outcome for the property owner."

"Like I said, the City says they're tired of working with me and I understand that.  I do.  I understand that.  But how fair is that to me?  To be a homeless person?" Said Clark.

"It tears me apart.  It really tears me apart because, you know, my sister has worked really hard," said Terri Clark-Austin, Clark's sister.

Clark has continued to work hard.  She's still working as a janitor for Sacramento County so she can pay her mortgage on time every month.

"This is really hard for me, you know?  I am still trying and I am still fighting for my home," she said.

Clark's family is accepting donations *online to help her keep her home.  One community activist says he's reaching out to District Attorney's office and asking that the Receivership and the City be audited as he believes Clark's story points to a bigger issue of elder abuse.

* cannot guarantee that the money donated to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering making a donation, you should consult your own advisers and proceed at your own risk

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