There are several organizations and law firms that provide free civil legal services to low and moderate income Florida residents. The programs available can help with various civil matters. The overall goal is to provide high quality legal assistance to lower income individuals, the elderly, the poor, abused, and the disabled.
While of course not every individual will qualify and resources are limited, they want to empower as many low income and disadvantaged people throughout the state of Florida as possible. The firms and their staff provide them free legal assistance and representation. Or some clients will be given referrals.
Below you will find information on some of the services offered to clients, as well as who to contact to learn more or to apply for aid.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Project was created by these law firms and various partner agencies to address the housing crisis in Florida. The Project is providing free, high-quality legal representation and advice to homeowners in Florida who are facing a foreclosure or who are behind on their mortgage.
Attorneys will provide advice, and even represent the homeowner in the court system. In addition to this court representation, the Project partners with other local and government agencies, including the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. Housing counselors from this agency will provide homeowners with alternatives to foreclosure and information on other approaches they can take. These alternate solutions include repayment plans, payment assistance, special forbearance, refunding, compromise sales, private sales, and loan modifications.
In addition, the Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Project also uses the court system to protect low income families and elderly individuals who are often the prime targets of illegal predatory lending (including mortgages and payday lenders) and other unfair practices by lenders and banks.
Counselors and lawyers from the Project will help prevent the loss of homes by helping these families and individuals rescind unfair mortgages, return finance charges, and reduce interest rates. Read more on this program.
Another free legal foreclosure program that homeowners can turn to is Florida Attorneys Saving Homes, otherwise known as FLASH. Attorneys will provide free advice on a pro-bono basis to struggling borrowers in the state. Click here to read more.
Lawyers can help people deal with a variety of consumer and financial issues. Receive advice for consumer cases including credit repair, wage garnishment, debt collection defense, and illegal credit card agreements. They can also help with IRS cases and disputes, unemployment compensation claims, and applying for government benefits. A focus of the law firms is also dealing with payday lenders in Florida.
Examples of cases handled include domestic violence, special education cases for public school students with disabilities, divorces, adoption, child custody, and more. The organization will ensure that individuals, especially women and children, are treated fairly and get the support they need.
Free legal services are offered to help people deal with complex and sometimes unfair Florida and federal government programs, including bankruptcy, unemployment insurance benefits, TANF (welfare) benefits, and food stamps. The application process for these can often be long and complicated. Other advice is for filing for Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, Medicare and dealing with health related issues such as access to medical services and health insurance.
Lawyers will represent tenant and homeowners with a variety of housing issues. Get support to help prevent an eviction, landlord/tenant problems, fair housing issues, mortgage foreclosure, predatory lending, and construction liens. Attorneys in Florida can advise people on their rights if they are facing an eviction, or live in unsafe conditions.
Law firms and resources focus on help the large percentage of seniors in Florida. They often have unique needs, and free services are offered to the elderly for a number of civil legal problem. Many need advice in understanding and applying for health care programs (such as Medicare) and other government benefits, including Social Security. Due to government grants, some of the Florida attorneys may be able to offer the elderly pro-bono services and aid regardless of their income.
Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. - Provides free legal and pro-bono services to people in Tampa Bay, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties Florida. Call them at (813) 232-1343.
Coast to Coast Legal Aid - Offers assistance to families in South Florida, including Naples and Broward County. (954) 358-5644. Read more.
Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc. - This non-profit law firm covers the central Florida area. Orange, Brevard, Volusia, Flagler, Seminole, Lake, Putnam, Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter and Osceola counties are covered. This law firm can be reached at (800) 363-2357.
Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. - This organization offers free legal assistance to indigents and other low-income, as well as elderly people, throughout the state. They also focus some program for individuals who reside in thirteen counties in South Central Florida. In addition, FRLS also provides legal support to migrant workers throughout the entire state of Florida. 1-888-582-3410.
Legal Services of Greater Miami - This law firm, which can be reached at (305) 576-0080, provides free civil legal services and resources to people who need help. The non-profit firm can help people facing homeless, the disabled, and new immigrants to the Dade County region. More on assistance from Legal Services of Greater Miami.
Palm Beach County - The main firm for this region is Legal Aid Society. Thousands of low income families can help with their civil legal matters and disputes. Click more information.
Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. - Provides services to the seventeen counties, including Jacksonville and Gainesville, that are located throughout North Florida. Lawyers at Three Rivers offer numerous programs. 352-372-0519.
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