Free legal help for homeowners
PHILADELPHIA - July 14, 2009 (WPVI) -- Free legal help could now be more accessible to thousands of Philadelphia homeowners.
Pearl Pierce was going to lose her home to foreclosure until she went through the Philadelphia Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program.
The name's a mouthful but it's really pretty simple. It's a court-sponsored program where lenders meet with borrowers to try to work out an affordable mortgage payment plan.
It's also where Pearl found a lawyer to work on her case pro bono - meaning for free!
"She went out of her way, she was so helpful to me Pearl Pierce of West Oak Lane told Action News. "So all of the prayers I asked the Lord to do - he answered"
Stefanie Seldin of Philadelphia VIP told Action News that there are 300 lawyers mostly from small to medium-sized and solo firms. A non-profit legal agency, Philadelphia VIP specially trains lawyers to help low-income folks in the program.
Sledin adds, though, that the problem is "to sustain the program we really need to hit the large law firms."
But many of those firms have lawyers who represent the lenders.
"If you have 300 lawyers in a firm and 10 of them represent Citi - those other 290 could not participate in this program until now," Sledin says.
Now, Citi has agreed to waive conflicts of interest for law firms who participate in the foreclosure diversion program. Citi says it's a win-win: It has loans that are being paid back again, and homeowners get to avoid a lot of anguish.
"The impact can be devastating," Don Haskin of Citi says. "So we want to make sure we're doing the right thing." If other big lenders follow suit, potentially thousands of homeowners like Pearl can be helped by thousands of other free lawyers.
Philadelphia VIP always has a big table set up at the conciliation conferences. You'll get matched up with a free lawyer on-the-spot. By the way, Citi is also giving a grant to Philadelphia VIP to help them recruit and train these volunteer lawyers.
CLICK HERE to follow Action News on Twitter
CLICK HERE to get Action News on your website
CLICK HERE to find Action News on Facebook
- 2 dead after building explosion in New York City 52 min ago
- AccuWeather: Thunderstorms possible today 24 min ago
- Get the 6abc StormTracker app
- WATCH: Action News Online
- Delco 2nd grade teacher charged with assault 15 min ago
- Montco 3rd grader hospitalized with meningitis infection 51 min ago
- Phila. cop charged with false imprisonment 2 min ago
- Photos: Pictures from East Harlem explosion
- Man in boxers attacks police station, cars 40 min ago
- NJ teen who sued parents returns home
- Pa. state senator charged with misuse of office 48 min ago
- Homes evacuated in Tacony for gas leak 47 min ago
- Co. carjacking suspect arrested after rush hour chase
- India asked to join hunt for missing plane 38 min ago
- Man in boxers attacks police station, cars
40 min ago
- Montco 3rd grader hospitalized with...
51 min ago