In a tough economy, having a roommate may help

Remake America


Erin and her husband decided they wanted to start a family a year into their marriage. Confronted with infertility, the couple took out a home equity line of credit against Erin’s house to pay for in vitro fertilization. Their twins, Ian and Lily, were the mark of a successful in vitro case, but were born premature.

“My kids had medical issues when they were younger,” said Erin. “The first year or two was really hard…I was going to the doctor with them once a week.

“Our marriage was just not strong enough to handle that,” she said. “We tried some counseling; it didn’t help. And it was not my decision for us to separate.”

When her marriage dissolved, Erin was left responsible for all house expenses. Unable to pay her mortgage, she applied to the Making Homes Affordable program but was rejected because her income was too high.

"It’s hard for Erin because she hasn’t got any money," said Erin's mother, Donna. "She couldn’t buy diapers at one time after her husband left, and formula was hard for her."

Facing foreclosure, this single mom hit upon a solution: find a roommate. After a long and frustrating vetting process, Erin now shares her home with another single mother.

“It helps having her here but, I'm still just getting nowhere,” said Erin, who earns additional income with babysitting jobs and is in the process of modifying the loan on her house.

"Sometimes I feel I'm OK, and sometimes I just feel lost,” she continued. “I do work a full-time job, I do get child support, and now I have a roommate, which helps out significantly, but I'm not getting ahead.”