This is one in a series of articles
examining foreclosure in the September issue. See
Samantha Santana knows what it is to
wait for hours in the bank lobby while her mom tries to talk loan
officers into letting them stay in their Chicago Lawn bungalow.
Samantha, 10, an A-student headed to a
school for gifted children this fall, takes on the role of
comforter to her mother, Elia, when she frets about what the family
can do to save their home from foreclosure.
Elia and Lorenzo Santana have always
been straight with Samantha and her little sister, Litzy, about
their money problems. After her husband lost his construction job
and the family depleted their savings helping a dying brother,
sister-in-law and father, Elia couldn't bring herself to pretend
that their way of life was secure.
"I just couldn't lie to them," she
says. "I think the lie would just be another slap in the face. I
wasn't going to promise them things I wasn't sure I could do."
It's been a struggle since 9/11 when
the Chicago construction company Lorenzo, now 45, worked for
suddenly didn't have full-time work and eventually didn't have any.
Now he forages for whatever handyman work he can find.
Elia used to be employed as a blood
work and dialysis specialist. She missed a lot of work caring for
sick relatives-and now medical HR folks aren't biting on her
Spotlight on Foreclosure
Her mother, in her 80s, moved in with
them when her husband died. The family also soon will be taking in
two orphaned children.
The Santanas live in an immaculate
brown brick bungalow at the end of Kilbourn Avenue, not far from
Midway Airport. A red and blue Re-Max "For Sale" sign is tucked
behind a shrub growing next to the front porch stairs.
They are working through the Southwest
Organizing Project and Neighborhood Housing Services in an attempt
to work out a deal with Bank of America to keep their home.
"I never could have imagined this could
happen to us," Elia Santana says. "We were always the ones who were
there for everyone else."
Robyn Monaghan is a mother and long-time journalist.
See more of Robyn's stories here.
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