This week, many of us at Seven Days have been busy working on year-end updates to stories we covered in 2010. Mostly, the process involves checking in with some of the folks we interviewed this year to find out what, if any, new developments have occurred since we last spoke.
Back in October, I wrote this story about the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which was intended to prevent struggling homeowners from losing their homes. Unfortunately, the program has had the opposite effect of forcing some homeowners into foreclosure, including many who never missed, or were even late on, a mortgage payment. My story attracted statewide attention, and in November I was invited to talk about HAMP and home foreclosures on this episode of Vermont Public Radio's "Vermont Edition."
I was joined by, among other guests, Dawna Hammers, a Shelburne teacher, musician and songwriter, who, like tens of thousands of other Americans, was at risk of losing her home through no fault of her own because of her participation in HAMP.
This week, I received a bittersweet email from Hammers. The good news: Her mortgage company finally agreed to modify her original loan, knocking several hundred dollars off her monthly payments and thus precluding any foreclosure proceedings for the time being.
The bad news: Shortly before the holidays, Hammers was laid off from her full-time job at the Shelburne Museum. She's now scrambling to find work and trying to pick up some more music students so she can afford to stay in her house.
Despite her financial straits, Hammers remains upbeat, and shared with me a recent recording she did of Joni Mitchell's "River." It's a bittersweet song that seems apropos of her current predicament. As she's a struggling musician hoping to make it big one day, I doubt she'll mind me sharing it with others. Check it out here: Download River BSF
File photo: Matthew Thorsen.