Information on new initiatives to help foreclosures, help you avoid scams and more

In real estate on November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

WASHINGTON – Nov. 22, 2010 – The Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative and Vice President Joe Biden announced a series of steps on Friday that the government will take to help middle class and low-income families secure their legal rights in a foreclosure. Those steps includes strengthening of foreclosure mediation programs, helping veterans secure the legal help they need, and making it easier for workers to find a qualified attorney when they believe their rights have been violated.

The announcement is the culmination of work between the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Access to Justice Initiative and federal agencies like the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and others.

“Many people’s lives can be improved without major new investments, and in fact with real savings, if we simply help them access the legal rights and benefits that are theirs,” says DOJ Senior Counselor for Access to Justice Larry Tribe.

Foreclosure mediation programs

DOJ’s Access to Justice Initiative and HUD issued a joint report identifying emerging strategies for effective foreclosure mediation programs. To assist jurisdictions developing or expanding mediation programs, the report describes several features that help boost a program’s effectiveness. The report also lists existing foreclosure mediation programs that are willing to help other programs throughout the nation. View the report here:

HUD also announced a new training webinar that will highlight strategies and resources for avoiding foreclosure. The training – aimed at a wide variety of audiences including homeowners, housing counselors, pro bono attorneys and mediators – will include topics such as accessing housing counseling resources, finding state-specific foreclosure prevention resources, avoiding foreclosure rescue scams, and understanding federal foreclosure prevention programs.

HUD also provided guidance on the use of Community Development Block Grant and Neighborhood Stabilization Funds for housing counseling, a resource that can increase the effectiveness of foreclosure mediation programs. View the guidance here:

In addition to these efforts, NeighborWorks, a national non-profit created by Congress and funded by Congressional appropriations, will debut a foreclosure mediation workshop at the NeighborWorks Training Institute in December. More than 2,000 counselors and other nonprofit professionals are expected to attend the Training Institute. NeighborWorks is one of the largest funders of foreclosure-mitigation counseling in the nation, and is the administrator of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program.

Finally, the Federal Trade Commission announced a new rule and several enforcement actions to protect vulnerable homeowners from mortgage rescue fraud. View the FTC’s press release here:

More information about the Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative can be found at:

Reprinted by Permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®


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