Former Corporate Controller Now 'Couch Surfing' To Stay Afloat

06/08/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Richard Brown lost his job over a year ago, and is profiled by as just one of 1.2 million former homeowners who lost their house during the recession.

Not having enough money to own his own home is tough enough, but for someone like Brown, the embarrassment can be even worse.

"I pay $600 for a third-floor room that gets hot in the summer," he said. "It's a blow. I don't belong here. I'm an educated person. I've held executive positions. And here I am in a boarding house where Russian is a first language."

His options, however, are limited. He's "couch surfing" to stay afloat and when the IRS calls and asks for his permanent address, he has no reasonable answer to give.

Armed with college degree and an MBA, Brown, 49, built a solid resume over three decades as a corporate controller for several Fortune 500 companies, including W.R. Grace and Wal-Mart, before launching his own global consulting business with clients in Europe and Mexico. But when the Panic of 2008 sent clients scrambling, he was unable to keep up with a jump in his mortgage payments and lost his home to foreclosure.

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