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Housing Crisis Survival: From PSA's To Prayer

Apparently the rising number of foreclosures nationwide is enough to warrant public service announcements on TV. No kidding. The mortgage industry wants you to know that if you’re in trouble with your loan, these good folks who got you into that trouble in the first place are here to help. Check out the Ad Council Web siteand you can watch the 30-second PSA, (go to right hand side of Web page and click on (Phone Call under Television Category) featuring a nervous family sitting around the kitchen table, trying to ignore the ringing phone; they know it’s their lender on the other end.

And here is the another ad--courtesy of YouTube--called "Doll's House," about how foreclosures affect the whole family (as if we didn't know).

The big names of the mortgage industry, like the Mortgage Bankers Association, are reportedly partnering with the Ad Council to bring these PSAs to TV screens across America. The voiceover says, “Every year, 1 million families face losing their homes to foreclosure. If you’re ignoring your mortgage issues, thinks will only get worse. It then tells the viewer to call 888-996-HOPE, “because nothing is worse than doing nothing.”

This is true, since any lender will tell you, the last thing they want is to take possession of your house. It’s just too expensive (if you’ve ever been to a foreclosure auction, you’ll see why…these homes go cheap).

It’s interesting to me though, because all the mortgage industry folks I talk to are always trying to convince me that the housing downturn is really not as bad as we media folk are making it out to be--that it’s really localized in a few tough markets, while the rest of the country is doing just fine. Well, if that’s the case, then why are we now putting foreclosure relief in the category of reading to our kids, talking to them about drugs, and giving a hoot about pollution?

Pray for Us!
Of course, if the PSA’s don’t work, there’s always good ol’ faith in recovery. I can’t help sharing a little article I found while doing a newspaper search. This from “Florida Freedom Newspapers”: Last month, in Destin, Florida, 300 or so Realtors gathered together to ask the Lord’s blessing. Dubbed a “Real Estate Prayer Luncheon,” it was “organized in hopes of breathing life and positive thinking into the area’s slumping housing market.”

Real estate sales in the area are down 44% in May from a year ago and year-to-date sales are down 36%. One of the speakers urged, “You must have vision, perseverance and passion.”

The luncheon was organized by the owner of a Realty company, a former City Councilman and a Pastor. They’re looking to make this a regular event. Whatever works.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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