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Mortgage foreclosures soared during the first six months of 2010 and will likely reach a million by the end of the year, according to a leading foreclosure tracking firm.

Economists and others confirm the trend, though they say fewer homeowners are falling behind on their payments than at the same time last year.

Indiana is among the hardest hit states.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Indiana’s first-quarter foreclosure rate of 4.5 percent was 10th highest in the country. And the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network, a public-private collaboration that includes AARP, anticipates 50,000 Indiana foreclosure filings by year’s end.

(The foreclosure rate is the percentage of all outstanding mortgages that are in foreclosure. It does not include delinquent mortgages that are not yet in foreclosure.)

Despite the gloomy outlook, help is available.

The Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network will host foreclosure prevention events in eight Indiana cities on Sept. 1 and another event on Sept. 16.

The events are not limited to people already in foreclosure. Anyone struggling to make house payments or who is behind even one month should plan to attend.

The first eight events will link homeowners with foreclosure prevention counselors, lawyers and an online tool that helps borrowers navigate the loan modification process. All eight events will be from 3-8 p.m. at the National Guard armories in Columbus, Evansville, Hammond, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Richmond, South Bend and Terre Haute.

The Sept. 16 event in Indianapolis will bring borrowers who are already delinquent on their mortgages face to face with lenders to discuss their options. Lenders and loan servicers will contact delinquent borrowers by mail to encourage their attendance.

That event will be from 2-8 p.m. at Lafayette Square Mall, on the city’s near West Side.

A four-week media campaign, including a 30-minute show carried by public TV stations, will also raise awareness of both sets of events.

Anyone who is unable to attend should visit the IFPN website or call IFPN toll free at 1-877-GET-HOPE.

Because foreclosure touches all age groups, AARP Indiana is proud to support the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network through member communications, volunteer support and policy-level advocacy. AARP volunteers will assist IFPN at its Sept. 1 and Sept. 16 events.

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