Today the Treasury and HUD announced that home loan modifications have increased significantly in the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), designed to help homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments to get financial counseling and work with the lender to modify the loan with the overall goal of avoiding foreclosure.

This bit of good news comes after yesterday’s RealtyTrac report showing 2009 was a record year for foreclosure filings with more expected in 2010 due to mounting job losses.

Like HAMP, there are many programs at work to stem the foreclosure crisis. Another is the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Today we learned the city of Evanston will receive $18 million in NSP funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help the city purchase and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned properties. Illinois REALTOR® Magazine reported last November on the Chicago NSP program targeting 25 neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosure. The $55.2 million program is estimated to allow the city to buy and rehab more than 1,400 foreclosed and vacant properties in a partnership with Chicago REALTORS®, Mercy Portfolio Services and other nonprofits.

Below are links to two federal foreclosure programs. Find more foreclosure assistance at

Both sites caution homeowners to beware of foreclosure rescue scams that require a fee for counseling or loan modification. Assistance from HUD-approved housing counselors is free.