Hot off the press!
SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center will host a series of three public forums around the state in response to the foreclosure crisis. Check the flyer below for more information.
You may have noticed that a couple of recent posts below reference the home foreclosure crisis. With the growing number of foreclosures in South Carolina and across the United States it is no wonder the housing market is such a hot topic.
One of the links referenced below is a story from NPR: Lawyers Make Pro Bono Leap into Foreclosures. It is the story of a man named Mirkab. Mirkab is a hard working man who ended up with two homes because just as his family purchased a new home and attempted to sell their old home, the market began to crash and they were unable to sell their second home. Like many other hardworking Americans, Mirkab is trying as hard as he can to keep his finances in good standing, but battling with the mortgage lenders on his own was getting him nowhere. The story highlights the generosity of lawyers who have responded to the mortgage crisis by doing pro bono work for clients like Mirkab. With so many families in the same position as Mirkab’s family, we need even more lawyers to step up and take these cases.
According to the National League of Cities 1 in every 374 housing units were part of a foreclosure filing in April 2009. Due to this insurmountable number, pro bono lawyers willing to tackle the mortgage crisis are desperately needed. For attorneys who do not specialize in this area of law the learning curve is steep, so a number of organizations across the country are finding ways to make it easier for attorneys to step up and take on these cases. At probono.net there are resources for attorneys interested in these pro bono cases including templates for legal documents and links to state specific resources. The Pro Bono Institute reports that legal service programs are typically the only access to the legal system that the poor and those of modest means have. Foreclosure cases are swamping their work load and pro bono help is needed to share the responsibility.
The Center for Responsible Lending created the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance that awards grants to non-profits and legal aid offices that with adequate resources can help those suffering from the housing crisis. The grants range from 250,000 to 300,000 and are dispersed over a 3 year period.
The housing crisis hits close to home for many South Carolinians. The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC ran an article in February telling how Family Services, Inc. was awarded $1.7 million from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Council. Recipients of the monies included Appleseed, South Carolina Legal Services and Charleston Pro Bono Services. These programs and this type of funding certainly help to put a dent in the aid needed, but there is much more required if individuals are going to get the legal help they need.
As Robin posted below, the South Carolina Supreme Court lifted the TRO on foreclosures as of Friday. The Order lifting the TRO lays out specific steps that must be followed and items that must be included within the court documents to determine whether an individual mortgage qualifies for President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program. The need for attorneys who are knowledgeable about the recent legislation and court orders dealing with the mortgage crisis as well as South Carolina Foreclosure law to take on these pro bono cases is great. Thank you for all of those working so hard to work within the legal system to find solutions for those struggling with a home foreclosure.
Thousands line up to meet with Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) counselors to discuss their mortgages and keep their homes. According to an article in the Columbia Regional Business Report (CRBR), more than 10,000 people participated in the first three days of the Save the Dream event. NACA’s role is to work with homeowners and lenders to stave off foreclosures; often by reducing mortgage rates.
U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn was instrumental in bringing the group to Columbia. According to the CRBR report, Rep. Clyburn noted that “homeownership is the most widespread access to wealth in this country.”
According to an article in The State, 202 counselors were on hand to evaluate each homeowner’s situation; which averaged 45 minutes per case.
Even though the special event ends today, NACA will continue its work in South Carolina at its offices in Columbia and Charleston as well as its nearby offices in Augusta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina.