SPRINGFILED, ILL. (IRN) – The Illinois attorney general’s office is distributing $20 million to legal aid services over the next three years to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
The money comes from Illinois’ share of the $25 billion mortgage fraud settlement with the five biggest banks: Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan says homeowners who are threatened with foreclosure can’t expect a favorable outcome if they don’t have legal representation. “I have long ago stopped telling people to try to deal with this on their own. You need to have an advocate. You need to be working with a housing counselor, a certified housing counselor and/or a lawyer, in order to actually have success when it comes to getting a modification,” she said.
The money will allow legal aid organizations to hire lawyers and paralegals to represent homeowners who are facing foreclosure and who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, at a cost of possibly tens of thousands of dollars.
Legal aid lawyers say mortgage servicers are more responsive when they’re dealing with a lawyer on the other end of the phone, or at the courthouse.