TALLAHASSEE, FL – September 3, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Bill McCollum and the Florida Bar Foundation today awarded approximately $700,000 in grants to several South Florida non-profit organizations to fund free foreclosure legal defense work. A total of $4 million will be available statewide over two years to fund attorneys and paralegals who will provide free legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure. The grants were funded by the Attorney General’s settlement with Countrywide Financial last October.
“Many citizens in South Florida are in desperate need of assistance in order to save their homes from foreclosure,” said Attorney General McCollum. “I am confident that the attorneys hired with these grants will make a tremendous difference to the families they help.”
Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc. will receive $340,000 in grant funding; the Cuban American Bar Association, the Spanish American League Against Discrimination, Inc., and the Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. in collaboration with the Haitian Lawyers Association will each receive $85,000; Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. will also receive an additional $104,700 in funding.
“These grants will allow the Cuban American Bar Association to better assist members of our community who may be in danger of losing their homes,” said Roland Sanchez-Medina Jr., President of the Cuban American Bar Association. “I am grateful to Attorney General McCollum and the Florida Bar Foundation for awarding the Cuban American Bar Association and its Pro Bono Project this funding that will help Florida’s families back on their feet.”
According to RealtyTrac.com, there were 15,700 foreclosure filings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in July. In the first quarter of 2009, the South Florida region was nationally ranked for having one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, with one out of every 79 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
“The increasing number of home foreclosures in South Florida indicates that nothing short of a serious, committed effort will rescue our homeowners,” said Tony Karrat, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Services of Broward County. “Through this grant, the Attorney General is addressing a desperate need with a plan of action, and we are incredibly excited to have been awarded these resources.”
In July, The Florida Bar Foundation received $2 million from the Attorney General’s Office to distribute in the form of annual grants. The grants vary in amount depending on the number of foreclosures in a particular area. A total of $2 million is available for distribution this year, and another $2 million will be available next year.
Residents requiring legal assistance to avoid foreclosure should contact the grant recipients directly.
Legal Aid Service of Broward County, online at: http://www.legalaid.org/broward/
Cuban American Bar Association, online at: http://www.cabaonline.com/
Legal Services of Greater Miami, online at: http://www.lsgmi.org/
Haitian Lawyers Association, online at: http://www.hlaonline.org/
Spanish American League Against Discrimination, by phone at: 305-326-8585
A full list of grant recipients is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-7VJLSE/$file/ForeclosureFunding.pdf