The number of foreclosure filings in 2010 among veterans, active-duty troops, and reservists rose 32 percent over 2008, reports RealtyTrac, a foreclosure research firm.

More than 20,000 of the military members who took out special government-backed mortgages lost their homes in 2010. That number marks the highest number since 2003. More military members are seeking aide in special programs for troops and veterans too. For example, the number of military families asking for assistance has risen 19 percent in 2010 over the previous year, says Bill Nelson, executive director of USA Cares, a charity that provides financial assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan war-era troops.

Last year, about 12,000 military families applied to the Pentagon's expanded Homeowners Assistance Program and 9,000 were found eligible. The program covers most of the difference in sales price and mortgage for service members who must transfer and sell their homes for less than they owe. The program will also sometimes even buy the house outright.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says that loans from private banks guaranteed by Veterans Affairs generally outperform other categories of mortgages. The VA helped 66,000 families avoid foreclosure last year, Mike Frueh, VA assistant director for loan and property management, told USA Today.

Source: 20,000 Military Members, Vets Faced Foreclosure in 2010, USA Today (Feb. 4, 2011)