Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities.
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June-July 2009
May 2009
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   January - March 2009
   July - December 2008
June-July 2009
May 2009
April 2009
   January - March 2009
   July - December 2008

ACORN Housing Help - 1-888-409-3557
If you need help or a good referral, contact ACORN. Acorn Housing Home Equity Loss Prevention (HELP) foreclosure counselors are ready to intervene with lenders to bring loans current. They have established relationships with 43 major lenders. Fill out an online application or call our toll free HELP Line today at 1-888-409-3557. ACORN has also proved helpful in helping prospective homeowners purchase home they can afford, providing education and counseling for first time homebuyers, and advocating for prospective homeowners faced with predatory lending situations.

Basic Foreclosure Litigation Defense Manual (July 2008)
The Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida and Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida created these materials for LACCF’s training of Volunteer Lawyers Program. Although geared to Florida practice, it describes in a straightforward way the basic players, practical advocacy tips, and the federal laws and regulations governing mortgage origination and lending. It’s worth a look.

The Consumer Warning Network
The Consumer Warning Network is a team of devoted fraud investigators including former Federal Prosecutors, former FBI Agents, and seasoned investigative journalists working together to expose companies and organizations ripping off the public at large. It posts news articles, stories, and warnings - basically any information relevant to everyday people about the many flavors of consumer fraud including foreclosure issues, predatory loans including student loans. Worth signing up for their e-mail alerts.

Federal Reserve System – Consumer Resources
This site lists resources and links to agencies and organizations that may help consumers who are having difficulty making mortgage payments including Treasury, HUD, DOJ, FHA, Federal Reserve, FTC and IRS.
You can find a live body to help by calling HUD Housing Counseling Agencies and DOJ Credit Counseling Agencies Approved Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 111

Fighting Foreclosure Through Legal Aid-Community Organization Partnerships- Webinar
On June 23, 2009, Editorial Team of Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy sponsored this webinar describing initiatives undertaken in Philadelphia and Los Angeles by legal aid advocates in partnership with community organizations to combat foreclosure of low-income residents' homes. Slides are also available

Foreclosure Defense: Understanding TILA Basics Is Essential
Everyone working with clients facing foreclosure need to understand The Truth in Lending Act, how it can be used, and its terms.

Foreclosure News, Articles, and Updated Homes Information

Foreclosure to Homelessness 2009: the Forgotten Victims of the Subprime Crisis (June 26, 2009)
This survey “makes clear that foreclosures are a major factor in the increase of homelessness in the United States,” National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) President Shelia Crowley said.

Key findings include that those experiencing homelessness due to foreclosure:
• tended to be renters, not owners;
• whether renters or owners, did not seek legal advice in foreclosure proceedings; and
• most often stayed with family or friends or in emergency shelters. protects, strengthens and promotes homeownership by giving American homeowners the tools and help to stop foreclosure. It is grass roots, consumer based, and consumer oriented. The Loan Safe Network was formed in response for the need of a safe website/forum to improve communication and foreclosure education among homeowners, lenders, non-profit’s and for profits.
This consumer oriented site provides up to date mortgage and housing reporting with a focus on loan modifications and the mortgage servicing industry. It focuses on educating homeowners about the vast range of home loan resolution services including but not limited to: loan modifications, short sales, deeds in lieu of foreclosure and emergency foreclosure avoidance.

Nolo on Foreclosure
Find articles about various aspects foreclosure, all written in a straightforward manner.

Foreclosure Survival Guide - Keep Your House or Walk Away With Money In Your Pocket by Attorney Stephen R. Elias – Nolo 2008

The Foreclosure Survival Guide provides key information about: mortgages, including adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs); short sales; deeds in lieu of foreclosure; judicial and non-judicial foreclosure; credit counseling; liens, and using bankruptcy to deal with foreclosure.

The Home Equity Theft Reporter
A blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about home equity theft issues.  It describes the various forms of home equity theft and links to news reports & other informational sources from throughout the country about the victims of home equity theft and what government authorities and others are doing about it.

The Home Equity Theft Reporter Cases & Articles
Cases & Articles is a companion blog to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, containing current court opinion summaries and sample complaints.  A treasure trove for attorneys working in the area.

Center for Responsible Lending
Find Fact Sheets (e.g., foreclosure numbers); articles (e.g., how did we get in this mortgage mess), proposed solutions to the foreclosure crisis and a glossary.
contains materials for loan servicers, attorneys and others in the mortgage industry.  For example, its requirements for Eviction Halt Extension, Announcement 09/05 are here.
A new Web resource that provides information on policy solutions related to foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization. It also includes strategies for preventing and responding to foreclosures, interactive online discussions, and tools that allow users to create customized data reports and maps to identify areas in which to target resources and efforts. See sections on Help Owner and Renter Families Recover and
Protect Renters Living in Foreclosed Properties.

The Foreclosure Crisis: Videos
In 2008 2.3 million properties received a foreclosure filing in the United States.  That's an 81% increase from 2007 and a 225% increase from 2006. (Source: RealtyTrac)  Consumer’s Union presents the personal stories of several individuals whose experiences reflect the many ways in which abusive mortgages are taking a huge toll on individuals communities and our economy.

Foreclosure Laws — State by State

Foreclosure Terminology

In Real Property Law, Foreclosure Defense Is At the Forefront of The General Public’s Mind…and Need. What Can The General Practitioner Do To Help 12 Million Defaulting Borrowers?
Stan Lockhart, a real estate broker/mortgage broker/attorney, surveys some new laws and emerging litigation theories and strategies that you may find helpful in your foreclosure defense: Loan Modification under California Civil Code § 2923.6; Notice of Non-Compliance under California Civil Code § 2923.5; Using Qualified Written Request; State and Federal Litigation.

Questions & Answers for Reservists, Guardsmen and Other Military Personnel regarding mortgage payment relief and protection from foreclosure provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Strength in Numbers: Legal Advocates and Community Organizers Partner to Fight Foreclosures
describes the collaboration between Neighborhood Legal Services (LA County) and a community organization, One LA-IAF, to help low-income homeowners facing foreclosure. Groups of homeowners negotiate collectively with servicers to modify loans. Using data gathered through negotiations, the LA City Council recently funded a foreclosure prevention pilot project that grants “silent second” mortgages to some homeowners.

Ten Things You Can Do to Stay in Your Home
As a kind of home remedy, so to speak, The Nation and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) have issued a useful list of ten ways to prevent or fight foreclosure.

VA Borrowers Information

VA Borrowers: There are Alternatives to Foreclosures!

Where’s The Note, Who’s The Holder: Enforcement of Promissory Note Secured By Real Estate
 by Hon. Samuel L. Bufford, Bankruptcy Judge (CD Cal.) and Hon. R. Glen Ayers Ret.
Will documentation problems halt a lot of foreclosures?  Judges are issuing TROs stopping foreclosures because lenders or their representatives are not producing proper documentation.  Judge Bufford explains it all — including some recent opinions — in a paper for American Bankruptcy Institute’s annual spring meeting on April 3.

#2-D Defending A Client In Foreclosure: Tips, Traps, and Programs — Housing Justice Network December 7, 2008.
Great materials available at the National Housing Law Project website(Supplemental Materials, No Password Required):
      • Six Tips for Representing Homeowners Facing Foreclosure and Dealing with Servicers and Lenders.
      • TILA Mortgage Basics.
      • Minnesota Foreclosure Defense Task Force Legal Referral Screening Form.

To get materials, hit
Supplemental Materials, No Password Required.Zip File (11,329 Kb) and save to disk or open and save 2-D.

Defending Subprime Mortgage Foreclosures 2008 - Practicing Law Institute  On October 30, 2008, PLI sponsored a 6 hour program on defending foreclosures:
      • Program Overview, plus, Mortgage Market Overview [01:11:50]
      • Understanding Foreclosure [57:08]
      • First Steps [01:00:44]
      • Issue Spotting Potential claims/Hypothetical [01:04:10]
      • Loss Mitigation [56:41]
      • California Specifics [55:30]
You must be a PLI member before viewing free programs.  Hit Member Login and create an online account.  Then enter  Defending Subprime Mortgage Foreclosures 2008 and you’re good to go.

Must Have Resource: National Consumer Law’s just-released Foreclosures (2d Ed.) details legal rights, tactics, and informal approaches to saving homes from seizure. MORE