The wave of home foreclosures that swept California in 2008 and 2009 has not gone away. In some ways, it may be getting worse.

Last year, says Brian O’Callahan, who directs the three-person Foreclosure Prevention program for Catholic Charities in Santa Rosa, his agency was contacted by roughly 3500 people seeking help with home loans gone bad. Out of that number, about 600 met the criteria for his HUD-funded program (first mortgages only, primary residence of the borrower). And only a quarter of those 600 were able to get significant assistance. For many of the rest, the best they could offer was sympathy and someone to listen.

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