Blind Paraplegic Woman Kicked Out of $650,000 Home and Forced to Live on the Streets Due to Clerical Error

Sharee B.

Barbara Ryan, a 57-year-old paraplegic who is also legally blind, was kicked out of her lifelong home one Winter afternoon even though she had already owned the home.

Sheriffs from Mecklenburg County arrived at her door and removed her from her house and to make matters worse, filed a petition with the court to have her involuntary committed to a local psychiatric unit.

After the initial 72-hour hold at the hospital, Ryan found herself homeless and on the streets with nowhere to turn. She recalls spending that first night on a parking deck in the dead of winter without food, money, identification, or a working phone.

According to records, the disabled woman's home was initially foreclosed on due to a lien on back taxes which accumulated between 2014 and 2018. However, she made the payment that satisfied the debt with the county assessor a few days before the home was set to go to auction. Eventually, an error caused the sale of the home to go through and allowed her to be forcibly removed as she sat in her wheelchair.

“I’ve been practicing law for a very long time. I’m not one for hyperbole. But this is the most atrocious and horrible case I’ve ever been a part of.”- Attorney Harrison Lord

Records obtained via the county assessor show that not only did her parent's estate revert to the county but that those funds were partially used to cover the tax bill on the home each year, in addition to a separate rental property owned by Barbara Ryan. One year the property taxes were under collected, which spiraled into a 4-year-old debt, to which Mrs. Ryan was unaware, according to a sworn affidavit.

Although the debt, which had ballooned to $21,438.25 was immediately paid by Mrs. Ryan and posted to her account three working days later, her house was still auctioned off for $407,925. The buyer was a construction company in the area.

The home site now sits empty, with the exception of a few bricks and dirt, while Mrs. Ryan tries to hold onto her memories of the home that she was raised in.

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