Norma and Michael lost their home and now live in their office.
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For 27 years, Norma and her husband, Michael, worked hard and built a life together. They owned a successful business, their dream home and planned to retire in their 60s. Now in their late 50s, this Colorado couple is back at square one.

When the housing market crashed in 2007, their successful mortgage business crashed with it. The bank repossessed their 2,600-square-foot home, and they were forced to move into their office space. "We expected to retire like everyone else around 62 or 65 years old," Norma says. "We still can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but the light is a little further out now."

In their small office space, Norma and Michael cook most meals in a microwave and shower at the local gym. Though they're starting over, Michael says he still has hope and encourages people in similar situations to stay positive.

"People should know not to hurt themselves. I know the emotions that you go through with this, but don't hurt yourself. Don't hurt your family," he says. "What we came to realize after all of the emotions is that it is just a house, and no one died. You can replace a house, and you can start working to get your money back."

FROM: Tent Cities in America: A Lisa Ling Special Report
Published on February 25, 2009

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