Tampa, Florida -- The Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater area had over 35,000 foreclosures during the first six months of the year--that's a six percent increase over last year.
Saturday, in Tampa, a workshop was held to help struggling homeowners get help with their mortgages.
"My income has been cut down to a third of what it was and I can't make ends meet," said Denise Andretta, a homeowner who attended the workshop.
Andretta has two mortgages and came to the foreclosure workshop to get help with refinancing.
"My second mortgage we've already gotten refinanced. My first mortgage, I have an appointment to go see them on Monday," Andretta said.
She was one of hundreds attending a workshop set up by Congresswoman Kathy Castor to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages.
"A lot of folks want to keep paying their mortgages, but they may have lost their job and need a little bit of extra breathing room, so they can get free advice and get a little breathing room," said Kathy Castor.
One of the biggest challenges for homeowners was getting face time with lenders. At the workshop, they were able to sit down and talk with lenders one-on-one about a variety of housing issues.
"We're hoping to talk to as many of our clients as possible who are facing some challenges with their mortgages," said Machelle Maner, who works with Wells Fargo bank.
The banks were on hand to talk about the programs they offer for homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments.
"Today, I realized that the banks offer programs and incentives and that there is also mediation, so that what I may be facing, maybe something can be mediated," said Betty Gallina, a homeowner who got help at the workshop.
The Tampa Bay metro area ranked 20th on the realty track list of cities with homes going through foreclosure.
"We've been a hard hit area, but we're resilient and no one is going to give up and if you're having a tough time, there is help available," Castor said.
One in thirty-three homeowners in the Bay area faced foreclosure in the first six months of this year. Nine of the nation's Top 20 foreclosure cities are here in Florida. Lakeland was ranked 17th on the Realty Trac list.
For information on upcoming foreclosure workshops in the bay area, you can visit: http://www.freddiemac.com/avoidforeclosure/workshops.html#FL
Melvin Beal, 10 News