Saturday, April 26, 2008



WASHINGTON — As the home foreclosure crisis sweeps across America, military and financial aid groups say they are hearing from a rising number of troops who say they are falling behind on their mortgage payments and struggling to keep their homes.

"The Army as a whole has seen an increase in soldiers and families seeking assistance for mortgage foreclosures," says Army Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman, citing data from branch legal offices trying to advise soldier.


Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Escamilla was on his third combat tour in Iraq last year when he had to negotiate from the battlefield with his lender over disputed penalties for the adjustable-rate loan on his four-bedroom home near Fort Carson, Colo. His payment had ballooned from $967 to more than $3,000.

"Not only do I have to worry about staying alive, but now I got to worry about whether or not my family's going to get kicked out of the house," Escamilla says of the long-distance haggling last fall.


After a USA TODAY inquiry last week to the parent company, New York-based Lehman Bros., a corporate officer notified Escamilla that all penalties would be removed and his payment adjusted down to its original amount, Escamilla says. "She was sorry for what happened," the soldier says.

Not everyone can rely on a press inquiry to fix things.