With the news that foreclosures took a sharp turn upward last month, there is a place to turn that offers free help for those in or facing foreclosure on their home -- and it's place you probably haven't thought of.
A year after the foreclosure fraud scandal taught us terms like "robo-signing," foreclosures are on the upswing again.
Nearly 4 million Americans are said to be more than 60 days behind on their mortgage -- with countless others one paycheck away from missing a payment.
"Everybody loses value on their home when a home is foreclosed," said Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development.
That's why Housing Secretary Donovan has launched a homeowners' hotline for those facing foreclosure.
"Call 888-995-HOPE -- we call it the Hope Hotline -- and talk to a HUD-approved housing expert. It's absolutely free," Donovan said.
Another place for free advice on foreclosures is your local law school, where students need the experience to get a degree.
"Our students have actually helped over 400 homeowners," said Phyliss Craig-Taylor, dean at the Charlotte School of Law.
Students there helped hundreds share in a $50 million settlement from a home builder who scammed them into buying more home than they could afford.
"And our students helped them in getting restitution for some of the money they had lost in those deals and damages for losing their homes in addition," said Craig-Taylor.
Getting foreclosure advice from law students has the housing secretary's endorsement.
"Being able to go through and understand what are your legal options, that is critically, critically important," Donovan said.
Also critically affordable.
For the HUD-approved help mentioned in this story, call (888) 995-HOPE (4673), or log on to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.