Many people who are about to lose their home to a foreclosure filing need legal help. However, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for them to afford it as they are often struggling at that time.
To provide this legal counsel, almost 1,000 attorneys across Maryland are providing free legal advice as part of the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project.
According to the American Bar Association, this Maryland program is one of the largest pro bono foreclosure-prevention efforts anywhere in the nation. One of the key participants organizing volunteers for the program is the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland. A representative from this organization says that the number of attorneys participating in the program is incredible, and it continues to grow weekly.
The program continues to grow in scope, and the number of people receiving assistance has increased dramatically. The pro bono project has continued to both add to and it has substantially widened the field of local attorneys who have the background that is needed to help homeowners who may be in trouble. Before the foreclosure prevention program began, experts say that only a handful of lawyers in Maryland were regularly representing borrowers in foreclosure situations and trying to find solutions. Now, as a result of the project, hundreds of lawyers are willing to donate their time and services. Call 1.800.396.1274 to learn more.
Organizers and statistics show that about 83 percent of the resolved cases had positive outcomes for the homeowner. The solution can greatly vary. For example, it can include not only lowered mortgage payments or waived fees, but it also can include exit strategies that meant borrowers had to sell their home, or maybe short sale.
Most of the cases still going through the process are still unresolved. What is also unfortunate is that the timeframe for a bank or lender's decision on loan modification can be long, even when homeowners have a lawyer on their side trying to speed up the process.
Experts say that it is great that attorneys across the state are offering their services and time for free, but their are some lingering worries that the system they are working within will limit the attorneys ability to keep people in homes with monthly payments they can afford over the long term.
Various government agencies, lenders, and non-profits participate in the program. The Pro Bono Resource Center administers the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project across the state. Homeowners who wish to be referred to a non-profit housing counselor or wish to obtain a pro bono attorney should call the Maryland HOPE Hotline at 1-877-462-7555
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