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Bet Tzedek and partners awarded $1.75 million grant

Bet Tzedek, as lead agency for the newly created Southern California Consumer Justice Coalition, has just been awarded a $1.75 million grant to assist individuals and families caught in the foreclosure crisis.  Below is the content of the press release:

Attorney General’s $1.75 Million Grant Through National Mortgage Settlement Will Help Keep Homes and Neighborhoods Intact
Five Legal Services and Housing Counseling Organizations Come Together to Fight for Rights of Southern California Homeowners Facing Foreclosures

The following statement is from the executive leadership of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Legal Aid Society of Orange County/ Community Legal Services and Public Counsel. The five organizations comprise the newly formed “Southern California Consumer Justice Coalition,” a collaborative partnership that will be launched with a $1.75 million grant from the California Attorney General’s Office through the $18 billion National Mortgage Settlement negotiated by Attorney General Kamala Harris and 48 other state attorneys general:

The Coalition will create a one-stop model to make access to legal services and education far easier for individuals and families impacted by the foreclosure crisis. The grant will allow the Coalition to expand the scale and nature of legal services provided currently to low income individuals and families, the elderly, and minority and other vulnerable communities. To accomplish this, the Coalition will develop an innovative, online portal for consumers that incorporates an interactive “Housing Plus Legal Risk Assessment,” provides self-help content and targeted referrals to legal and housing counseling organizations, and will be supported by Spanish and other language hotlines.

“Foreclosures helped wreck California communities and drag our economy into recession. But California now has seized the opportunity under the National Mortgage Settlement to combat foreclosure and the resulting effects of the crisis, and put homeowners and hard-working Californians on the road to recovery,” stated Bet Tzedek Vice President and General Counsel, Elissa Barrett, who is also serving as the Coalition’s Project Director.

The $1.75 million grant represents the largest award statewide by the Attorney General’s Office, and it will lead to the launch of the Southern California Consumer Justice Coalition, a partnership of five organizations with decades of experience in combating foreclosure rescue scams, deceptive sales and lending practices and other conduct that affects the housing stability and financial security of our communities.

Additionally, the Coalition will conduct outreach and trainings for housing counselors, community organizers, faith-based organizations, public librarians and others who serve as first points of contacts for homeowners and tenants in distress, with an emphasis on expanding service to communities with access barriers, such as language, geography, disability and age.

“The services that will be provided by the Coalition will greatly benefit Asian American homeowners, who were largely impacted by the foreclosure crisis, especially those homeowners with limited English proficiency,” remarked Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

“This new model for legal and housing counseling services will aid Southern Californians who have the ability to stay in their homes, but need help navigating the loan modification maze or need legal representation to fight deceptive practices,” according to Bob Cohen, Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of Orange County/ Community Legal Services.

“The work the Coalition will do is vitally important because California’s economy is still fragile, and many homeowners are still treading water and trying to stay afloat,” commented Hernan Vera, President and CEO of Public Counsel.

“We are proud to join with California’s Attorney General and support Southern Californians who are working hard to keep their homes and neighborhoods intact,” stated Silvia Argueta, Executive Director of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

In the immediate future, as the project is funded and brought to scale, the public is asked to contact the Coalition partners directly for assistance. Eventually, there will be a centralized web address for clients to access. The websites of the Coalition Partners are:

Bet Tzedek – www.bettzedek.org
Asian Pacific American Legal Center – www.apalc.org
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles – www.lafla.org
Legal Aid Society of Orange County/ Community Legal Services – www.legal-aid.com
Public Counsel – www.publiccounsel.org

You can read more about the awards and other programs that were funded by visiting https://tinyurl.com/btrgl8v