Keeping Homes By Taking In Boarders

Heather Townsend and Marlene Mazzi sound like mother and daughter when they talk about what's for dinner on any given evening. But they met just three months ago when Heather started renting a room in Marlene's house.

Is she surprised by how much things have changed?

"Oh, yeah," Marlene said.

Her husband can't find carpentry work. She lost her business due to the economy. Faced with losing their home, they posted an online ad looking for a boarder, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.

Unable to afford L.A.'s high rents on her slumping sales job salary, Townsend now pays Marlene Mazzi $750 a month for a bedroom and a bathroom.

"I pay her $200 extra dollars and she makes all my dinners," Townsend said.

And the table is full, ever since Mike Szapko, a chiropractor from Montana, moved in five weeks ago - making close quarters even tighter.

"I've not had to worry about people saying, 'turn the television off' or, 'I'm going to bed at 9, can we be quiet.'" Townsend said. "You know, it's odd."

Marlene's daughter Stephanie is sacrificing more, giving up her bathroom to share one with her parents and her cousin, who moved into what used to be the den.

"You go from living on your own with your family having your own privacy to like all of a sudden it's really fast and it all changes," Stephanie said.

"If you didn't rent out the rooms, if that money wasn't coming in, what would happen?" Tracy asked Mazzi.

"At this moment, I would be on the street. I'll be homeless," Mazzi said.

More and more Americans need help paying their mortgage or their rent.

Roommate postings on Craigslist shot up from 259,000 last year to 419,000 this year - a 62-percent increase.

Laura Fanucchi helps run one of the largest homeshare programs in the country.

"People have lost their retirement incomes and they've lost their jobs and they want to keep their home," Fanucchi said.

With a record one-in-10 mortgage holders now behind on their payments, even some who live in million-dollar homes open their doors to strangers.

"It's like a bed and breakfast without the breakfast," said Rick Lautenbacher, who charges $390 per week for a room in his $2 million Venice Beach home. He needs help with the mortgage as he struggles to sell in a down market.

"I'm just waiting for things to get better," Lautenbacher said.

As for Marlene Mazzi, she's hoping to get back to the life she used to share with only her family.