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'It's a sweet victory' | Oak Park grandmother regains property rights from receivership with help from community groups

71-year-old Wanda Clark said demolishing her home was her only option to get out of a court-appointed receivership.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Martin Luther King Jr. Day is also known as a day of service.

One woman in Sacramento is thanking a group of local organizations for their service in her time of need, after she was at risk of losing her Oak Park home.

ABC10 first introduced you to 71-year-old Wanda Clark in October 2021.

After her home was placed in a court-appointed receivership, she decided the best way for her to move forward was to start over from scratch.

A home once filled with memories, now demolished on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"I've raised quite a few people in my home, my kids, my grands, my greats, my great-greats," Clark said.

The saga for Clark started more than 10 years ago when a contractor began building an unpermitted addition and then left mid-job, putting clark out $35,000.

Since then, she has received letters and fines from the City of Sacramento for the unpermitted property but says she was unable to pay or get the work finished, eventually being placed in a court-appointed receivership. 

"They wanted me to give them $185,000 and the only way that I could remove the receivership is by tearing down my home," Clark said.

Now, for Wanda, the burden is lifted.

"It's a sweet victory because I don't have to worry about the City of Sacramento, I don't have to worry about receivership, now I just have to worry about what I'm going to put here and my plan is to live back here again," she said.

The Sacramento Housing Alliance, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento and several others stepped up to help. 

"By coming together, collaboratively in support of Ms. Clark, community partners were able to work in partnership with the City of Sacramento, in together achieve solutions, addressing code finds and mounting receivership fees in agreement with the court to dissolve the receivership and thereby allow her to keep her property," Leah Miller, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento said.

The demolition was covered at no cost to Clark by the Sacramento-Sierra's Building & Construction Trades Council.

"We are here with our unions and our contractors to donate our time and resources so Ms. Clark doesn't have anything to worry about as far as the demolition of her house and we are looking forward to see what we can do to help relieve the pressure in the rebuild of her new home," Kevin Ferreira, Executive Director of the Sacramento-Sierra's Building & Construction Trades Council said.

Workers like John Rector, a district representative for Operating Engineers Local 3, said he was happy to volunteer his time for this.

"It's always amazing to be able to help our community and to help somebody who's gone through such a terrible situation like Ms. Clark where a bad contractor taking advantage and skipping town and leaving her with this mess," Rector said.

In the meantime, Clark is looking forward to eventually rebuilding. 

"Once I get ready to start rebuilding, we're going to have us a great barbeque out here," she said.

But the work here is far from over, the Greater NAACP has already started a fundraising initiative to help Wanda rebuild her home on this property.

To contribute to this effort click here and mention "Wanda Clark Project" in the memo. 

They say 100% of the donations will go to building a long-term housing solution for Ms. Clark. 

WATCH MORE ABC10:  Mark S. Allen spoke with two longtime Sacramento civil rights leaders about how Martin Luther King influenced them to leave a positive impact on their community. 

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