Florida Lawyers Help Fight Problem of Foreclosure Properties

by on States

Volunteer lawyers in Florida have been helping homeowners save their homes from becoming a foreclosure property since 2007 under the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes foreclosure prevention project. The state’s chief financial officer Alex Sink created this program in partnership with the Florida Bar, Florida Bar Foundation and Florida Legal Services to help distressed homeowners and to stop the rapidly rising number of bank foreclosure properties across the state.

Figures on Florida foreclosures in 2008 and in the first months of 2009 are among the highest in the country, based on studies by foreclosure tracking firms such as RealtyTrac and Foreclosures.com.

This week in a news conference, CFO Sink announced a summit involving volunteer lawyers, mortgage lenders and housing officials to be held in Tampa on April 20 to discuss solutions to new problems faced by lawyers in their foreclosure prevention work.

Sink said some mortgage holders are questioning the legitimacy of the program. The program’s hotline is also being overwhelmed with calls from homeowners who fear their houses would become foreclosure properties.

As of the first week of April, over 8,500 HUD houses in Central Florida are already in inventories of foreclosure properties, including 4,330 units in Orange; 1,412 units in Osceola; 1,114 units in Lake; 970 units in Volusia; and 726 in Seminole.

Sink and other housing officials are warning homeowners to ignore online ads and outdoor ads from fraudulent mortgage firms and not to pay hire paid foreclosure prevention counselors.

Sink said troubled homeowners should call the program’s toll-free hotline at 866-607-2187 on weekdays during office hours. They can also visit Sink’s website on www.MyFloridaCFO.com.

Lawyers who like to help solve the state’s foreclosure problem are invited to visit www.floridaprobono.org. More lawyers are needed to help distressed homeowners on waiting lists generated by the Legal Services hotline program.

Kent Spuhler, head of the Florida Legal Services, said volunteer lawyers talk with mortgage bank officers on behalf of homeowners who want to save their homes from becoming foreclosure properties. Over 500 mortgage cases have been given to lawyers to work out.

In addition, over 1,000 borrowers have participated in sessions and seminars under the Safe at Home program to learn about renegotiating mortgages, arranging affordable payment plans and taking other steps to protect their families from being evicted from foreclosure properties.

disclaimer