Legal Aid for Low Income Households Facing Foreclosure
By Jon C. Gail, Housing and Community Services
Oregon Housing and Community Services and Legal Aid Services of Oregon launch new program to provide no-cost legal assistance to eligible households facing foreclosure.
Low-income homeowners and renters affected by foreclosure now have access to new a statewide service that provides free legal assistance from an attorney to help address urgent foreclosure issues.
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has contracted with Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) to develop and deliver the new program. The statewide service will be offered both over the phone and in person from offices in Portland, Medford, Hillsboro, Eugene and Bend.
Interested households can call 1-855-412-8828 toll-free or 503-227-0198 in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties to learn more about the program. Intake specialists will screen callers for income eligibility and will refer qualified households to an available attorney. Program phone lines are staffed between 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Assistance can be provided in English and Spanish, with additional translation services available if necessary. Program phone lines are not staffed by attorneys and intake specialists cannot give legal advice.
The program is funded by a May 2012 legislative appropriation, utilizing proceeds from the National Mortgage Settlement, settled in part by the State of Oregon’s Department of Justice.
In addition, OHCS and LASO are developing a referral program to provide legal assistance to moderate income households, utilizing sliding-scale and pro-bono assistance from private attorneys. This component of the program will provide moderate income households the opportunity to have a free one hour consultation with an attorney, with additional representation offered at a discounted rate. Information about the program will be posted as it develops at OregonHomeownerSupport.gov.
Interested households can learn more about accessing legal assistance and other foreclosure prevention programs by visiting OregonHomeownerSupport.gov. For additional foreclosure prevention assistance interested person can also visit the above website or dial 211 toll-free from any phone in Oregon.