Bill McCollum (R)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, along with the Florida Bar Association, on Monday awarded $84,000 to the Legal Aid Society of Orange County as part of its new foreclosure defense assistance program.
The funding is part of a $4 million settlement between the state and Countrywide Financial Corp., which will be used over the next two years to fund lawyers providing free assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.
The Florida Bar Association received $2 million of the funding which will be distributed over the next two years through different legal grants.
"With these funds, we can provide direct legal assistance to Central Florida homeowners trying to save their homes," McCollum said.
McCollum, a Republican, said the amount of grants will vary in amount depending on the number of home foreclosures in the specified areas.
According to the Legal Aid Society, there were 11,315 new home foreclosure cases filed in Orange County in 2007, a figure which doubled in 2008.
Experts say they believe the state of Florida could 40,000 new cases filed in 2009.
"With this critical funding from the great work of Attorney General McCollum and his staff, the Orange County Bar Association's Legal Aid Society will be able to fund a Foreclosure Clinic staffed by an experienced housing attorney to provide free legal advice to Central Floridians facing foreclosure," said Heather Rodriguez, president of the Legal Aid Society.
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