Foreclosure Prevention Initiatives Provide Free Services to Struggling Borrowers as Part of AG Coakley’s HomeCorps Program
BOSTON – Initiatives established as part of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s HomeCorps program have provided hundreds of struggling homeowners with a range of foreclosure-prevention efforts that include free legal services, financial counseling and eviction prevention across the state.
Using the funds directed to Massachusetts from the $25 billion national settlement with the five major lenders over their servicing and foreclosure practices, the HomeCorps program has utilized these resources to benefit affected borrowers with loan modification, borrower representation and borrower recovery.
“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,” AG Coakley said. “Through legal services, financial counseling, and other extensive foreclosure prevention efforts, these homeowners are receiving critical assistance and relief.”
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) was awarded a two-year grant totaling $6 million to administer this Borrower Representation Initiative and fund 14 locations statewide staffed by 19 attorneys dedicated to foreclosure-related cases and direct legal representation.
The Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) was awarded a two-year grant totaling $7.4 million to oversee a network of Borrower Recovery sites across the Commonwealth. The Borrower Recovery Initiative sites provide a support and recovery network for those borrowers who may lose their home to foreclosure.
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.
The goal of the Attorney General’s HomeCorps program is to mitigate future impacts of the foreclosure crisis by providing advocacy to distressed borrowers in Massachusetts facing foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure, or the foreclosure has already occurred, HomeCorps may be able to help by offering access to a variety of foreclosure prevention and recovery services. Contact the HomeCorps Hotline at 617-573-5333.