TALLAHASSEE, FL – August 31, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Bill McCollum and The Florida Bar Foundation today awarded $84,000 to the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc. to be used for a new foreclosure defense assistance program. The program is funded by money obtained by the Attorney General through a settlement with Countrywide Financial. A total of $4 million will be available over two years to fund additional lawyer and paralegal positions devoted to providing free assistance to homeowners facing foreclosures who cannot afford legal defense.
“With these funds, we can provide direct legal assistance to Central Florida homeowners trying to save their homes,” said Attorney General McCollum.
The Florida Bar Foundation received $2 million from the Attorney General’s Office to distribute in the form of annual grants. The grants will 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.
“With this critical funding from the great work of Attorney General McCollum and his staff, the Orange County Bar Association’s Legal Aid Society will be able to fund a Foreclosure Clinic staffed by an experienced housing attorney to provide free legal advice to Central Floridians facing foreclosure,” said Heather Rodriguez, President of the Legal Aid Society. “We are truly thankful for the hard work and aggressive advocacy of Attorney General McCollum and his commitment to use the funds received from this settlement to improve the lives of all Floridians.”
According to the Legal Aid Society, there were 11,315 new foreclosure cases filed in Orange County in 2007. In 2008, the number of new foreclosure cases more than doubled to 26,131, and experts project there will be 40,000 new foreclosure cases filed in Orange County alone in 2009.
Orange County residents who need legal assistance to avoid foreclosure may contact the Orange County Bar Association’s Legal Aid Society at 407-841-8310 or visit the website at http://www.legalaidocba.org. Assistance is also available in several languages, including Spanish and Creole.
More awards for the foreclosure defense program will be announced later this week throughout the state
Media Contact: Sandi Copes
Phone: (850) 245-0150