Legal Aid Foreclosure Help Expands Services

By: David Koen- staff attorney with  Legal Aid Services of Oregon

The statewide Legal Aid Foreclosure Help program is expanding the scope of assistance it provides to low-income Oregon homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure-related legal issues.

Since 2012, Legal Aid Foreclosure Help has assisted hundreds of Oregon homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure-related legal problems. Legal services attorneys throughout Oregon have represented homeowners and tenants in foreclosure cases, Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Program resolution conferences and disputes with loan servicers and landlords.

Previously, the Foreclosure Help program has focused on representing homeowners and tenants when foreclosure proceedings or resolution conferences have commenced. More recently, Foreclosure Help has begun to also assist homeowners and tenants before formal foreclosure or foreclosure-related proceedings have started. In addition to continuing to assist those in some stage of the foreclosure process, examples of those who Foreclosure Help may also be able to assist include, but are not limited to, the following:

 A homeowner current on her loan but who believes she may soon default.

 A homeowner involved in a dispute with his loan servicer about an attempt to cure arrears.

 A homeowner facing foreclosure due to unpaid Oregon property taxes.

 A tenant whose home has been sold in a foreclosure sale.

Assisting those affected by the foreclosure crisis earlier in the process can expand the range of options a homeowner or tenant has to save her home. Foreclosure Help’s expanded assistance also recognizes the need for continuing assistance for Oregonians amid the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

Legal services attorneys directly serve Oregonians facing – or potentially facing – the possibility of foreclosure when their income is below or at 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Legal Aid Foreclosure Help also can refer Oregonians between 201% and 400% of the federal poverty guidelines to a private attorney for pro bono assistance. The initial consultation is offered on a no-charge basis; pro bono attorneys are allowed to charge a reduced fee to callers referred by Foreclosure Help at an amount acceptable to both attorney and client.

Homeowners and tenants may call the toll-free Legal Aid Foreclosure Help statewide intake line at 1-855-412-8828 (or in the Portland metro area 503-227-0198) to speak with an intake specialist. The caller will then be screened for acceptance. The intake line is open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Intake staff can assist borrowers in English and Spanish, and can also assist homeowners and tenants in other languages via phone-based interpretation services.

If you are an Oregon attorney who would like to volunteer your time to the Foreclosure Help Project, you can obtain an application to join the pro bono panel by calling 503-227-0198 in the Portland area, or toll-free at 1-855-412-8828.

David Koen is a staff attorney with  Legal Aid Services of Oregon and represents homeowners and tenants under the Legal Aid Foreclosure Help program.

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