Madison (WKOW) -- Economists seem to agree a wave of home foreclosures began this economic downturn.
And millions of families have been left struggling, washed over by that wave.
Dawn Oestreich of Mount Horeb knows this experience first hand. "It's the worst feeling ever," Oestreich told 27 News. "You don't want to tell people your house is going into foreclosure. You feel embarassed.
Oestreich, her husband and their young daughter now live in Oestrich's mother's house.
They are helping Oestrich's mother make her mortgage.
Oestreich's home in the small Iowa County community of Hollandale went through foreclosure in August.
Oestreich says they bought the two story home three years ago with no down payment and shaky credit.
When the mortgage adjusted up, her work, and her husband's seasonal job, could not keep up with the monthly house payments, as they also faced emergency medical expenses.
Oestreich knows the financial recovery from losing a home will be tough. "Our credit is ruined now."
Despite the humbling, difficult experrience, Oestreich has not given up on the dream of home ownership.
A parcel of land next door to Oestreich's mother's home has been up for sale. "We're hoping we can get some of the property from them. We're saving up our money so we can actually buy our house, instead of going through a bank."
The mortgage giant Countrywide held the family's mortgage at the time of the foreclosure.
Oestreich believes the financial firms she dealt with as her family attempted to catch up on mortgage payments could have been better problem solvers.
Oestreich says it feels very personal as she watches Congress craft a rescue for the firms holding all these mortgages from people like her. "It feels like we had a direct hit."
After her trying experience, Oestreich has advice for potential homebuyers: put down a large down payment; be realistic about your job's stability; and research your lender.