Things don't always go as planned with the lottery. For example, Veronica Maximay thought her dream had come true when she won a $250 lottery house in Petworth in 1993. But now she is having trouble making payments on the $94,000 renovation loan, which was converted into a mortgage.

The 63-year-old West Indies native worked for years for a Bethesda family, but lost her job when the ailing husband died recently. She is now four months behind on the mortgage. She has been advised to seek housing counseling by her loan holder, but she remains optimistic about finding work or that a daughter will help clear the debt.

The semi-detached brick rowhouse at 5101 Fifth St. NW required considerable work. The roof had caved in, and the walls and floors were damaged. The latest assessment values the house and lot at $118,761.

Lottery director Lynn French said only one or two of the 1,000 units sold in the lottery's 12 years have been defaulted on. While the agency does not track mortgage payments and is not responsible for ensuring that loans are repaid, she said she would call Maximay to encourage her to seek free counseling. "I'll put our default rate up against any mortgage company's," French said.