The University of Michigan Law School and Legal Services of South Central Michigan, which is a private nonprofit agency that provides representation and free legal advice to low-income people, have joined together to create the Michigan Poverty Law Program. Through this program, the resources dedicated to it, and the support of others the group has launched the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Program.
The foreclosure assistance program is funded by grants from the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance, the Ford Foundation, and the Michigan State Bar Foundation. The foreclosure program links law offices across Michigan state, and together they work in assisting homeowners who are facing a foreclosure filing.
As many people know, once you fall behind on your monthly payments it becomes very difficult to navigate the twists and turns of the judicial system and to understand your rights. It is always very important to find legal aid as soon as possible to avoid falling behind even more on mortgage payments.
If a family or individual, regardless of their household income, gets a foreclosure notice, that is when agencies like Legal Services come in to provide help. If someone calls them, that person will definitely speak with an attorney to see what options they have.
Some type of assistance is guaranteed. They may decide to file a lawsuit against the lender, bank, or mortgage company or, if it's more a financial issue and not a legal issue, and if it is determined that your best option is a loan modification or a forbearance agreement, they may refer the homeowner to Neighborhoods Inc. or another organization for that type of service.
Neighborhoods Inc. and Legal Services are in the process of forming the Calhoun Foreclosure Task Force, which coordinates various aid agencies and organizations in determining foreclosure trends in the area, work with homeowners, and share information and resources.
Michigan also has a law that requires all lenders to work with you to avoid a foreclosure. Be sure to open all mail from your mortgage servicer or lender. As you will be required by state law to receive a notice in the mail stating that you have the right to work with your lender and a housing counselor, and the lender needs to offer this option to you. After you receive the letter, you have 14 days from the date the notice was mailed to contact a mortgage counselor or legal office.
Some organizations to contact include:
After you have contacted a mortgage counselor, you have 90 days to work with your bank or lender to come to terms on an agreement from your mortgage. Start the communication process as soon as possible, and the longer you wait the more difficult it will be to receive effective help.
The underlying goal of the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Program is to provide coordinated and comprehensive foreclosure prevention advocacy throughout the entire state by providing support to housing counseling organizations, offer direct legal representation to homeowners who are facing a foreclosure, coordinating policy advocacy on a statewide basis, and providing training and technical support to counselors.
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