With thousands of New Yorkers facing the threat of losing their homes to foreclosure, advocates working to combat the crisis have a new resource at their disposal: a Foreclosure Practice Area, accessible via probono.net/NY, which allows attorneys to share essential materials, including sample pleadings, briefs and legal strategies.
There were 20,773 foreclosure filings in New York City in 2009, up from approximately 14,000 in 2007 and 2008. More than 40% of threatened homeowners statewide live in New York City, and poor families in the city’s outer boroughs have been most affected, with many losing their homes. The consequences of foreclosure often reach far beyond individual New Yorkers and their families, destabilizing entire neighborhoods.
The Foreclosure practice area launched in late February 2010 under the guidance of Allison McDermott, Pro Bono Net's Deputy Director, working closely with Jay Inwald, Director of Foreclosure Prevention Litigation at Legal Services NYC, Lynn Armentrout, Director of the Foreclosure Project at the City Bar Justice Center, and Oda Friedham, Foreclosure Attorney at the Legal Aid Society. Within a week the site had registered close to 200 members. It is open to legal services attorneys around the state working on foreclosure issues as well as pro bono volunteers who have taken a case from the City Bar Justice Center.
"With the law constantly evolving and governmental responses to the foreclosure crisis in a state of flux, it is essential to have a resource to which foreclosure advocates can turn for current information," said Jay Inwald of Legal Services NYC. "We are delighted that the Foreclosure Practice Area on probono.net has come to fruition."
In addition to libraries of practice resources, continuously updated news feeds, training calendars and practice alerts, the site contains an updated database of published decisions from foreclosure cases. It also provides updates on the evolving federal foreclosure prevention program (Making Home Affordable), and information on the New York State Foreclosure Prevention, Tenant Protection and Property Maintenance Act of 2009. In addition, the site contains multimedia training material content, as well as a listserv to mentor and support pro bono attorneys doing this work.
“The environment for service provision in foreclosure prevention is complicated and constantly evolving,” said Michael Hickey, Executive Director of the Center for New York City Neighborhoods. “The ability to provide high quality information quickly to a broad audience, as Pro Bono Net’s practice site allows, is critical to arming front line workers in this crisis with the best tools for the job."
The site was developed by Pro Bono Net, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Legal Services NYC, The Legal Aid Society and the City Bar Justice Center. The project received support from the