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Scramble for solutions as foreclosures rise at record speed

Amid doubts about government efforts, Congress was expected to vote on reserving $50 billion in TARP funds to help with home losses.

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Foreclosures jumped a record 80 percent last year, according to a new report by consulting firm RealtyTrac. The rise comes despite state and federal programs designed to stem the tide of home losses.

This week, Congress was expected to again intensify its efforts to address the issue, this time by voting on a bill requiring at least $50 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program's remaining $350 billion to be used to prevent foreclosures.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced this week the launch of a public service campaign designed to help individuals at risk of losing their homes.

Called "Keep Your Home, Know Your Loan," the print, television, and radio campaign will air in six cities: New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, and Phoenix. It urges homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments, or whose mortgage may soon reset to a higher interest rate, to call 877-HUD-1515 to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.

"We want people to pick up the phone and call a HUD counselor before they reach a point of no return," said HUD secretary Steve Preston as he launched the campaign at a news conference on Wednesday. "It expands your options and gets you time to make a good decision."

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