Editor's Note: Gail Cunningham is senior director of public relations for the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), Inc.
By Gail Cunningham
Special to CNN
When you sit across the desk from someone with overwhelming debt, you can sense their fear before a word is spoken. And when their home is in jeopardy, the fear fills the room.
I was a credit counselor for 16 years, and quickly discovered that people in debt are very ashamed of their situation.
In all my years, I never counseled anyone who was cavalier about their circumstances, or intentionally sought to dig a deep financial hole. But the shame that accompanies foreclosure tops anything I've ever experienced.
There's something about people losing their homes that is disturbing beyond measure. Failure has become a part of their demeanor.
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