TALAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, along with the Florida Bar Association, has launched a new statewide program aimed at providing legal assistance to individuals facing home foreclosure.

The program is being funded by a $4 million settlement that was reached with Countrywide Financial last October.

The money will be provided over two years to lawyers and members of the legal community committed to assisting homeowners who cannot afford legal representation during foreclosure settlement negotiations.

"The high number of foreclosures in Florida has left our homeowners vulnerable to fraud and desperate for assistance," McCollum said.

A total of $2 million is available for distribution this year, and another $2 million will be available next year. It is being distributed as grant money by the Florida Bar Foundation, according to McCollum.

Florida currently has the fourth-highest rate of foreclosures in the nation.

McCollum is running for governor in 2010.

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