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Congress Authorizes Program to Fund Foreclosure Legal Assistance in Wall Street Reform Legislation

Yesterday, Congress agreed to authorize funding for foreclosure legal assistance as part of the comprehensive Wall Street financial reform package that achieved final passage in the Senate.

Section 9115 of the legislation authorizes a program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would provide legal representation for low and moderate-income homeowners and tenants directed toward home ownership preservation, home foreclosure prevention and tenancy associated with home foreclosure. The legislation authorizes up to $35 million to legal services providers through a new grant program at HUD. A link to the legislative language is attached at http://www.nlada.org/Civil/finalforeclosurelegislation.

The legislation was the product of several years of effort by NLADA, the National Association of Legal Services Workers/UAW and the Brennan Center for Justice, as well as a number of consumer advocacy organizations, to address the huge problems faced by owners and tenants resulting from the economic crisis and huge jump in the number of foreclosures nationwide.

The measure benefitted from the strong support of the respective committee chairs leading the Wall Street reform effort, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).

Upon the signing of the bill by President Obama, advocacy efforts will shift to securing funding for the new program in the remaining term of this Congress.

For more information, contact Don Saunders at NLADA (d.saunders@nlada.org).