For those wondering how exactly did all these people fall behind on their mortgages, take a look at a pretty honest personal story in the New York Times. The author, like many, bought a home he couldn't afford, tried to compensate with credit cards and refinancing and had a spouse lose a job. There are tough times for many who bought into the traditional model of rapid real estate value increases and living beyond their means. Reading the piece, it is easy to see how people fall into the trap.
A surprising little aside is that the banks have not had time to foreclose on his home or do a loan modification even though his last payment was eight months ago!