Save Money in this Sunday's paper

Taxpayer-funded Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, is the centerpiece of the nation's foreclosure prevention effort. But it doesn't work for many people.

Elisha and Michael VanHorn would have tried to sell their family's Matthews home last year after illness forced him to stop working, but the federal foreclosure prevention program looked like a lifeline.

After being laid off from a job of more than 25 years, Carolyn Jones decided to relocate from her native New York City to the less expensive Charlotte area.

A year ago, Rob Waters asked his mortgage lender for reduced payments because he'd been laid off.

Marvin Parks lost his job with a NASCAR team in the summer of 2008 and has been trying to get his mortgage payments reduced since the federal effort started 16 months ago.

Distressed N.C. homeowners, embittered by months-long battles for mortgage modifications, expressed skepticism Friday that the latest federal foreclosure-prevention plan will bring any relief.

Recent changes to the federal foreclosure-prevention program were billed as helping the unemployed, but in the long run, they actually make it harder for people without jobs to keep their homes.

Donna Lancaster didn't buy the tempting new condo, didn't strip the equity from the Matthews house she bought in 1990.She drives a 10-year-old car. She doesn't use credit cards and hangs her laundry to dry.

Nancy White put her Indian Trail home of 10 years on the market last weekend after losing a yearlong battle to reduce her mortgage payment.

Ben Mayfield thought he had saved his home with a federal loan modification. He made six payments. Then the bank started foreclosing.

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Save Your Home
A continuing series by The Charlotte Observer.