BUSINESS
06/18/2009 05:53 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dispatches From The Displaced: Unpaid Katrina Worker Loses Farm

Are you facing foreclosure, or have you already lost your home? Share a story of how the housing crisis has affected you by emailing submissions+foreclosure@huffingtonpost.com. And sign up here to receive updates when we publish new stories.

This is Dispatches from the Displaced, in which a homeowner tells his or her story of facing foreclosure. Yesterday we featured Pamela and Richard, who couldn't make payments after the interest rates on their loan was raised. Each weekday, 10,000 people lose their homes to foreclosure.

Today we're hearing from John McClenahan from St. Louis, MO, formerly the owner of a debris removal company. After not receiving payment for his restoration work for Hurricane Katrina, he lost his long owned business, and his home.

I lost my home and farm in February of 2006 under pressure from the bank to repay equipment loans (income producing assets) in the form of second & third mortgages wrapped back into a single, interest only loan/mortgage.

After my loans were sold from this bank to that bank & rates were rising, I finally acquired an interest-only loan by a local bank in August 2004. I knew I was being duped but what choice did I have? My wife and I needed a roof over our heads and a place to run our business.

My costs were staying the same but my income started to decline as people were starting to feel financial stress therefore they were not having as much non-emergency, selective tree work done by this time due to the war, layoffs, foreclosures in the second home (my best customers) market, ie: views, pruning, general tree maintenance.

In September 2005 I took my tree and debris removal company to Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane work usually added an extra month or two to our annual income, and I did it gladly because I liked the feeling of helping out people in need. After being there for a month, my business liability insurance canceled. The work I had done prior to the cancellation of my business insurance was mostly for insurance companies. They never paid me. Anyone who owns a business knows it can't be run without commercial liability insurance and once canceled, good luck finding another insurer. By February 2006, my farm was foreclosed. I lost everything after working for 21 years to build my piece of the American dream quite literally by 'pulling myself up with my bootstraps'.

After Katrina the banks just kept bashing away at me until my wife and i just blew apart. we had been married since 1980. she was my college piano teacher and college sweetheart, but she couldn't take anymore and i don't blame her.

Unlike a lot of folks, I repaid all my debts. Every one. That did not get my wife, farm, home, pets or business back. My life has totally changed and I really don't know what to do. I have no medical insurance, no retirement, no savings, no outlook and I'm pushing 60. Had I known this was the final outcome, I would not have started out to chase the dream.

After his foreclosure, McClenahan was left only with a motorcycle, and spend a year and a half on the road. He now lives in an apartment in St. Louis.

Are you facing foreclosure, or have you already lost your home? Share a story of how the housing crisis has affected you by emailing submissions+foreclosure@huffingtonpost.com. And sign up here to receive updates when we publish new stories.

Find out more about Dispatches from the Displaced, HuffPost's Eyes&Ears series of reader-submitted foreclosure stories.