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How 1 Florida family lost their home to foreclosure

Until you have gone through it, you may not be able to understand what it is like to lose your home to foreclosure. We often talk about foreclosure trends in Florida, using data and broad strokes, but today we will discuss the story of a Florida man who went from homeowner to homeless in just eight years.

The man shared his story with PBS’ “NewsHour” program. He recently had to hand over the keys to the Fort Myers house he bought in 2007. At the time, he had a good job and plenty of savings. He bought the house with the plan to live there with his parents and brother.

Less than a year after the man bought the house, his father died unexpectedly, forcing the family to scramble to make the mortgage payments. They relied on low-income jobs and the homeowner’s mother’s widow’s pension to get by.

Then the mother suffered a heart attack, and was put on prescription drugs that cost more than $1,000 per month. The homeowner had to stop working to care for her. To keep from losing the house, he got a loan modification from a mortgage-servicing company that lowered his interest rate. But then another company took over the mortgage and raised the payments again.

Desperate, the man spent the last of his bank account and emptied his 401(k). He sold his car and took odd jobs around the neighborhood.

But he could not delay the inevitable forever. Late in February, he gave up the house in exchange for $1,500, a “Cash for Keys” transaction. After eight years, the man cannot return to the house without possibly being arrested for trespassing.

At the time NewsHour spoke to the man, he and his brother were living in his truck, while his ailing mother was sleeping in a motel. The family had no prospects for permanent housing.

Many people wind up in foreclosure due to bad luck, like the people in this story. They need help to save their home, if possible, or at least assistance getting out of crushing debt.

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