More than 1,100 South Shore families have lost their homes to foreclosure in the past 19 months. Hundreds more are waiting to see if a $300 billion federal foreclosure bailout bill will save their homes.
 It’s an issue of dollars and cents that will cost taxpayers upward of $300 billion before it’s over.
 But to understand the true cost of nation’s foreclosure crisis, you have to look into the eyes of a Weymouth mother who talks about the shame of visiting a food pantry so her family can eat and still meet the monthly mortgage payment.
   You have to watch a 9-year-old Whitman girl try to comfort her mother, who has tried, but probably failed to save the family’s home.
   And you have to be in the room when a Plymouth woman gets the phone call that gives her a temporary reprieve only minutes before foreclosure auctioneers were scheduled to sell her home.
    This three-part series looks at the personal toll of the nation’s foreclosure crisis and tells you how to avoid losing your home.

DAY 1:The Cowing Family nearly loses the home that has been in their family for four centuries, the possibility still looms for this family.

DAY 2:The D'Arigo Family of Whitman is devastated by the potential loss of their home.

DAY 3: The Rexroads of Plymouth cope with living in the shadow of foreclosure.

State leaves homeowners in the dark: Attorney general offers little help with questionable refinance offers

EDITORIAL: The Patriot Ledger's opinion about the foreclosure crisis.

FORECLOSURE HISTORY: Trace the history of the American dream of home ownership and how the mortgage system came to be.

FORECLOSURE FACTS:Find out who is at risk for foreclosure and what all the terms mean.

FORECLOSURE HELP: Get information and tips about how to save your home and view links to organizations that can offer support.

FEDERAL BAILOUT: What the federal foreclosure bailout bill that takes effect Oct. 1 will do

Q AND A:  Deirdre Hall, the home ownership coordinator of the nonprofit Quincy Community Action Programs, answers questions about foreclosure.

FORECLOSURE AUCTIONEER: Braintree auctioneer Tom Weitbrecht gets out of the foreclosure business and remembers sad times.