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Mass. AG’s Services Aid in Foreclosure Crisis

Saturday, February 16, 2013

 

Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley is giving borrowers a break in the ongoing foreclosure crisis that has hit the state with new initiatives established in her HomeCorps program.

The program has provided struggling homeowners across the Commonwealth with foreclosure-prevention efforts including free legal services, financial counseling and eviction prevention.

“The goal of our HomeCorps program is to mitigate future impacts of the foreclosure crisis by providing advocacy to distressed borrowers, and these initiatives are making an impact,” Coakley said. “Through legal services, financial counseling, and other extensive foreclosure prevention efforts, these homeowners are receiving critical assistance and relief.”

The program uses funds directed to the state through the $25 billion national settlement with five major banks serving in foreclosure practices – Ally, Wells, Bank of America, Chase, and Citi. HomeCorps uses these resources to benefit affected borrowers with loan modification, borrower representation and borrower recovery.

As revealed in a GoLocalWorcester investigation, hundreds of Central Mass. residents have been the victims of fraudulent, expedited foreclosures from these banks.

Through the Borrower Representation Initiative, attorneys have been successful in bringing claims against banks for improper foreclosures, representing former homeowners in eviction proceedings and providing legal assistance to clear obstacles preventing a loan modification. With the goal of preventing homelessness, these legal aid offices represent some of the most vulnerable homeowners, including the elderly and disabled, or for whom English is not their first language.

Last year the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) were awarded a two-year grant totaling $6 million to administer this Borrower Representation Initiative. This amount will also fund 14 locations statewide staffed by 19 attorneys dedicated to foreclosure-related cases and direct legal representation.

Through the Borrow Recovery Initiative, local residents have been assisted in making progress toward achieving economic recovery. Services are provided at no charge and include providing support and advocacy, budget counseling, helping families apply for available benefits and programs such as fuel and emergency food assistance which they may never have applied for previously, and linkage to employment resources.

In addition, income-eligible families who have lost their homes to foreclosure may qualify for monetary assistance of up to $2,000 to prevent impending homelessness.

To date, more than 400 cases have been handled by both the borrower representation and borrower recovery initiatives. 

 

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