Unless you've been holed up for the past several months, you've heard that the health of the economy has taken a turn for the worse. It's a complicated situation that This American Life has done a great job of explaining in a couple of segments: The Giant Pool of Money, which we previously mentioned, and Another Frightening Show About the Economy.
For low-income households, this has made a bad situation worse. Renters are being evicted as their landlord's properties are foreclosed on, homeowners are falling prey to foreclosure scams, and tent cities are growing as the rate of homelessness increases.
Even while facing their own financial challenges (news about Indiana, Minnesota, and New Jersey), the legal aid and pro bono communities are stepping up to provide additional assistance. Nationally, several pro bono programs are organizing foreclosure projects. In Minnesota, ProJusticeMN.org launched a website specifically for these advocates that includes sample court documents, statutes, and practice aids. (See their e-newsletter story about the project.) Additionally, programs are making more legal information available online. For example, Illinois Legal Aid Online has created several foreclosure videos, including Mortgage Foreclosure Overview, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has an attorney who is blogging about foreclosure issues at ForeclosureBuzz.org, and in California, ForeclosureInfoCA.org provides legal information on foreclosure for the public. And these are not the only efforts. For a complete list of activities, check out the list on LSNTAP.org. - K